Airbus has been chosen by Thaicom to deliver an Asia-focused spacecraft in 2027, giving the manufacturer an edge in geostationary communications satellite wins for this year. This follows Airbus’s failed attempts in 2022. Thaicom-10 will be Thaicom’s first satellite with a software-defined payload. This feature will allow Thaicom to adjust capacity and coverage while in orbit, accommodating changes in demand.
Eutelsat has also agreed to lease half of Thaicom-10’s capacity at 119.5 degrees East. This collaboration will give Eutelsat an additional 50 gigabits per second of capacity over Asia. Thaicom CEO Patompob Suwansiri mentioned during a conference that Eutelsat’s capacity will focus on maritime and aviation, while Thaicom will focus on inland markets. The specifics of the contract and partnership between Thaicom and Airbus were not disclosed.
Thaicom-10 will be the ninth order for Airbus’ OneSat product line, which is highly reconfigurable. Earlier this year, Airbus also received an order for OneSat from an undisclosed customer. Separately, Yahsat, an Emirati fleet operator, signed a contract with Airbus to begin early work on two geostationary communications satellites named Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5. These satellites are scheduled for launch in 2027 and 2028 respectively. The agreement covers system requirements review, design work, procurement activities for long-lead items, and other initial work. However, the full procurement contract for these satellites is pending the finalization of a long-term deal with the Emirati government.
While Airbus has secured several orders for geostationary communications satellites, other companies have also made notable contracts. Dish Network ordered a satellite from Maxar Technologies to expand its high-definition broadcast services over North America. Astranis and Swissto12, two satellite manufacturing startups, announced contracts for smaller, regionally focused geostationary spacecraft. Inmarsat, owned by Viasat, also ordered three small satellites from Swissto12 for a launch in 2026. Thales Alenia Space, Airbus’ European rival, has not announced an order for a satellite communications spacecraft destined for geostationary orbit this year.