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Airbus to supply satellite communications system for the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

 

22 June 2018

Airbus has won a three-year contract to supply satellite communications in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF). As satellite communication meta-operator, Airbus will supply, install and maintain the system and ensure access to satellite resources for those living and working in this extremely remote area.

The contract covers satellite communication systems deployed in the Crozet islands, Kerguelen Islands and Amsterdam Island. These Sub-Antarctic islands located between the 37th and 50th parallel, where the Indian and Antarctic oceans meet, are ideal locations for observing climate change and biodiversity.

The islands’ sole inhabitants are researchers who study the wildlife, plants and climate, technical teams who handle logistical support (infrastructure, energy, communications, etc.) and military garrisons. They usually spend between three months and a year on site, and on these extremely isolated islands, the telecommunications system provides a vital link with the rest of the world. Airbus will provide internet access and a telephone network for their professional and private communications.

To guarantee reliable communications in this region where the weather conditions are harsh, the satellite system operates in C band. This frequency band offers particularly good propagation capacities, even in heavy rain, which is why it is also used in tropical regions.

The French Southern and Antarctic Lands consist of the Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Saint-Paul and Amsterdam islands in the Sub-Antarctic, Adélie Land in the Antarctic and the Scattered Islands (îles Eparses) in the Mozambique Channel and north of Reunion Island.

The Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, and Saint-Paul and Amsterdam islands have been classified as a national nature reserve. Spanning 672,969 km², it is France’s largest nature reserve and one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. By preserving these exceptional land and marine ecosystems, researchers are able to carry out vital studies for furthering knowledge of biodiversity and its protection.