IRIS² European Satcom Constellation


The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The EU Council has signed off on financing IRIS²:

IRIS² is intended to be a communications satellite constellation that:
  • will consist of up to 200 satellites in low-earth orbit
  • will provide secure communications and internet backbone functionality for the European Union, including quantum-key encryption
  • will also explicitly be used for both governmental and military purposes
  • is explicitly intended to make Europe independent of any commercial offers by companies in 3rd countries (they're not naming Starlink and Elon Musk in this, but leave it to the press to do that)
The programme leverages experiences from the previous "GOVSATCOM" precursor programme, in which the EU effectively aggregated and distributed commercial satcom capacity to member countries on demand.

IRIS² will be the third EU-owned satellite constellation after COPERNICUS (Sentinel dual-use observation satellites) and GALILEO (satellite navigation).

The EU financing for IRIS² is for their development component of 2.4 billion Euro. The constellation is currently planned to cost around 6 billion Euro, with 30% provided by commercial partners buying into it and the rest likely to be financed by EU members through ESA.


The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Is it going to be completely launched by ESA from Guyana colonial complex?
Or is to be determined?
To be determined.

Given how it is quite openly positioned against Starlink (and other US providers) though there'd have to be quite heavy lobbying for it to be launched by anyone else.
I think we already got the answer during current ESA council in Paris.

Funding to Ariane and Vega rockets to grow heavily.
Big milestone: IRIS, New class of european astronauts, General council and joint funding for Vega and Ariane launchers...

When Europe works...
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