Airbus Defense and Space and Thales Alenia Space have been awarded a contract to build France's next-generation communications satellite.

The French Ministry of Defense has ordered two Comsat NG satellites. "The satellites will be based on the Eurostar electric propulsion platform, which is already the front-runner on the global commercial market," according to an Airbus news release. Airbus and Thales will build and launch the two satellites, as well as provide the ground control segment, Ka-band anchor stations, options for additional satellites, and maintenance.

Comsat NG, scheduled for deployment in 2021, will replace the Syracuse III system. An electric version Eurostar E3000 satellite, Comsat NG will operate in the Ka band.

"Following the completion of design studies, the experts at Airbus Defense and Space decided to offer the Ministry of Defense an all-electric satellite for the first time," said Francois Auque, president of Airbus Defense and Space France."