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Intelsat Acquires Software-Defined Thales Alenia Space Satellites in Pursuit of 5G Global Network; CEO Stephen Spengler Quoted

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Intelsat has inked a deal with Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture of Thales and Leonardo, to construct two software-defined satellites, scheduled to be up and running in 2025.

The operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network said on Wednesday that the two new satellites, named Intelsat 41 (IS-41) and Intelsat 44 (IS-44), are intended to grow Intelsat’s global fabric of software-defined GEO connectivity as a function of its 5G software-defined network.

“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,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler.

The satellites will offer features such as seamless telecommunications mission and services reconfiguration, as well as instant in-orbit adjustment to broadband connectivity demand and superior video broadcast performance. They will be based on the Space Inspire product line, conceived by Thales Alenia Space themselves.

Hervé Derrey, Thales Alenia CEO, commented that the knowledge that the Space Inspire software-defined solution will play a major role in realizing Intelsat’s global 5G unified network was exciting.

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

The companies’ agreement aims to add high-speed dynamically-allocated connectivity across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia for commercial and government mobility services and cellular backhaul.

With the addition of the two Thales Alenia Space satellites, Intelsat now has a total of four software-defined satellites in production.

Spengler announced his impending retirement from Intelsat in October 2021 upon the company’s completion of a financial restructuring process and the naming of a successor.