A group of European space and telecommunications players has come together to form a partnership to bid on the European Commission’s IRIS2 multi-orbit secure satellite constellation, according to a report.

IRIS2 (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite) is the European Union’s new flagship space program for a digital, resilient, and safer Europe.

Led by Airbus Defence and Space, Eutelsat, Hispasat, SES, and Thales Alenia Space, the consortium will also rely on the core team of the following companies: Deutsche Telekom, OHB, Orange, Hisdesat, Telespazio, and Thales, said a media statement.

IRIS2 will deliver resilient and secure connectivity solutions to governments to protect European citizens and will provide commercial services in the interest of European economies and societies, similar to what SpaceX’s Starlink offers.

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It will also bolster the EU partnership policy by offering its infrastructure abroad.

Last November, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton announced the continent’s plans for IRIS2.

The EU aims to provide 2.4 billion euros, with additional contributions expected from the European Space Agency and private investments, Ars Technica reported.

“IRISA establishes space as a vector of our European autonomy, a vector of connectivity and a vector of resilience,” Breton said at the time.

“It heightens Europe’s role as a true space power. With a clear ambition and sense of direction.”

Together, the group will create a state-of-the-art satellite constellation based on a multi-orbit architecture that would be interoperable with the terrestrial ecosystem.

The consortium will encourage start-ups, mid-Caps and SMEs to join the partnership, resulting in a more innovative and competitive European space sector where new business models will emerge, the statement said.

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