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Sicral 1 is the Italian telecommunications satellite that proved to be a valuable asset during the various conflicts around the Persian Gulf. Sicral 2 was the spare satellite that was kept in disassembled configuration in reserve in case the Sicral 1 launch would fail. However, when Sicral 1 was launched successfully, there was no direct need anymore to complete Sicral 2. Dutch Space produced the solar arrays for both Sicral 1 and 2.

Sicral in orbit

Because of this success, the Italian Ministry of Defense has decided recently to fiat a follow-on mission: Sicral 1B. Again, Alenia Spazio from Rome will act as Prime Contractor. Thanks to its flawless operation and the favorable price, Alenia has again decided to award the solar array contract to Dutch Space.

Sicral Wing

Sicral Solar Array Wing

The solar array for Sicral 1B will consist of eight panels (2.5 x 1.5 m), evenly distributed over 2 wings. Since Sicral 1B will be equipped with more transponders than its predecessors, its power demand will increase from the original 3100 Watt to 4200 Watt. For that reason it was decided to only use four of the existing Sicral 2 panels that are still on stock. These panels are covered with thousands of silicon solar cells and they will be complemented by four new panels equipped with state-of-the-art gallium arsenide solar cells. The latter have a superior power output.

The solar panels will be delivered to Alenia Spazio in mid-2006. Sicral 1B will then be launched in early 2007.