The ATHENA-FIDUS system was developed by the ASI and CNES as part of a collaboration between space agencies and the Italian and French ministries of Defence.
ATHENA-FIDUS creates a telecommunications infrastructure able to replace/complement terrestrial networks, in case of unavailability of or damage to them, and will have an expected operating lifespan of over 15 years.
ATHENA-FIDUS complements the capabilities already offered by the Syracuse and SICRAL systems.
In a temporary consortium with Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the development, construction and testing of the satellite. It is also responsible for the development, construction and testing of the satellite‘s control centre.
Telespazio managed the launch services, the LEOP and the IOT phase and took part in the development of the telecommunications aspects of the ground segment, at the Vigna di Valle Centre for Defence, near Rome.
The satellite was launched on February 2014 from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, with an Ariane 5 launcher.