To be launched in 2025, Intelsat 45 is expected to provide Ku-band fixed-satellite services to media and network customers


SWISSto12 to build Intelsat 45 satellite for Intelsat. (Credit: Intelsat)

Satellite technology firm Intelsat has selected advanced satellite payloads and systems manufacturer SWISSto12 to build the Intelsat 45 satellite (IS-45).

Through its order for the Intelsat 45 satellite, Intelsat is said to have become the first commercial customer for the HummingSat geostationary (GEO) telecommunications product.

To be launched in 2025, Intelsat 45 is expected to deliver Ku-band fixed-satellite services. These will allow the inflight connectivity provider to offer specialised services to its media and network customers.

Intelsat space systems senior vice president Jean-Luc Froeliger said: “The SWISSto12 product brings two innovations to meet our business needs. The small size addresses a gap in our fleet strategy, enabling us to be increasingly more targeted to meet specific customer requirements.

“In addition, the additive-manufacturing process used for this spacecraft is paving the way for faster satellite build cycles in the future. We are confident in the HummingSat technology and want to support the success of new players in the field of commercial communication satellites.”

SWISSto12 is building the satellites in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) under its public-private-partnership programme.

The company’s satellites and payloads utilise the patented 3D printing technologies and related radio frequency (RF) product designs that provide lightweight, highly performing, compact, and competitive RF functionality.

The HummingSats have a volume of over one cubic meter, which is one-tenth the size of traditional satellites placed in geostationary orbit.

Each of the HummingSats is developed to be sent as a rideshare mission to GEO transfer orbit on a rocket carrying one or more large spacecraft.

SWISSto12 founder and CEO Emile de Rijk said: “The award of the IS-45 program by Intelsat is a landmark moment for SWISSto12. We are humbled to embark on this journey with Intelsat, who are the foundational architects of satellite communications.

“It is unprecedented for a specialist high growth scale-up to secure a contract of this depth with a leading telecommunications operator. It provides a solid start to our HummingSat product line to open a new chapter in the satellite communications industry.”

In August 2022, Intelsat entered into a global distribution partnership agreement with low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications firm OneWeb to provide an inflight connectivity (IFC) solution to commercial airlines.