The two next-generation software-defined satellites, named as Intelsat 41 (IS-41) and Intelsat 44 (IS-44), are expected to be in service in 2025


The artist’s view represents the two Intelsat software-defined satellites, IS-41 and IS-44. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

Integrated satellite and terrestrial network operator Intelsat has signed an agreement with Thales Alenia Space to acquire two software-defined satellites.

The investment is a continuation of Intelsat’s efforts to advance its global fabric of software-defined GEO connectivity as part of its 5G software-defined network.

Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales with a 67% stake and Leonardo with 33%.

Named as Intelsat 41 (IS-41) and Intelsat 44 (IS-44), the two next-generation software-defined satellites are expected to be in service in 2025.

Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler said: “Intelsat’s standards-based, open-architecture network design facilitates the incorporation of the best technology at any given time, further bolstering network resiliency.

“With the addition of Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44, in partnership with Thales Alenia Space, Intelsat will blanket the earth with software-defined satellites, progressing the world’s first global 5G software-defined network, designed to unify the global telecoms ecosystem.”

The addition of new satellites is said to be a key step in the advancement of Intelsat’s 5G software-defined network designed to enable enhanced agility, flexibility and orchestration across edge, satellite and core.

To be based on the Thales Alenia Space’s innovative Space Inspire product line, Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44 will join two Airbus constructed software-defined satellites, Intelsat 42 (IS-42) and Intelsat 43 (IS-43).

The new satellites are expected to enable telecommunications mission and services reconfiguration, instant in-orbit adjustment to broadband connectivity demand, and superior video broadcasting performance while maximising the effective use of the satellite resources.

Enabling the continued advancement of Intelsat’s planned global software-defined satellite-based network, the contract is expected add high-speed dynamically-allocated connectivity across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia for commercial and government mobility services and cellular backhaul.

Thales Alenia Space CEO Hervé Derrey said: “Our relationship with Intelsat has been so meaningful knowing that our attractive Space Inspire software-defined solution will contribute to the realization of Intelsat’s global 5G software-defined unified network.

“We are proud that our advanced satellite technology will play a significant role in Intelsat’s vision to reimagine the global telecoms ecosystem.”