EUTELSAT’s Ka-Sat Satellite successfully lofted into Orbit
Ground-breaking High Throughput Satellite with record 70 Gbps capacity to serve users across Europe and Mediterranean Basin. The KA-SAT satellite of Eutelsat Communications has been successfully lofted into orbit by a Proton Breeze M rocket supplied by ILS. Lift-off of Eutelsat’s 6.1 tonne satellite took place on 26 December at 21.51 GMT (22.51 CET). After a 9-hour 12-minute flight, the launcher released KA-SAT into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Acquisition of the satellite’s telemetry signal by Eutelsat’s control centre at the Rambouillet teleport, and the partial deployment of the solar arrays have already been successfully completed.
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO, commented after successful completion of the first satellite manoeuvres: “We are delighted to confirm that our KA-SAT satellite is now on its way to 9° East, and thank ILS and Khrunichev for this new launch success. KA-SAT will be the cornerstone of a breakthrough infrastructure deployed by Eutelsat for users across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. By combining a satellite equipped with more than 80 spotbeams and a network of ground stations, this new programme will deliver more capacity than any other satellite programme deployed worldwide. These new resources will in particular benefit Internet Service Providers, enabling them to extend broadband to consumers and enterprises in areas unserved by terrestrial networks. KA-SAT will also consolidate Eutelsat’s Professional Data Network activity, which generates 15% of our revenues, with solutions for enterprises and public administrations that drive down costs of terminals and bandwidth. The launch of KA-SAT is further evidence of the sustained commitment to investment and innovation that Eutelsat has successfully pursued, with the objective of increasing the contribution of satellites to a booming digital economy.”
Built for Eutelsat by Astrium using the Eurostar E3000 platform, KA-SAT ushers in a new generation of multi-spotbeam satellites. Its revolutionary concept is based on a payload with 82 narrow spotbeams connected to 10 ground stations. This configuration enables frequencies to be reused 20 times and takes total throughput beyond 70 Gbps. The ground network will use ViaSat’s SurfBeam® technology, similar to the solution already powering broadband connectivity for almost 450,000 satellite homes in North America. The combination of KA-SAT’s exceptional capacity and ViaSat’s SurfBeam® technology will make it possible to deliver Internet connectivity for more than one million homes, at speeds comparable to ADSL.
KA-SAT will in particular boost to up to 10 Mbps the speeds of Eutelsat’s ToowayTM consumer broadband service, which has been operated since 2008 by its Skylogic affiliate. ToowayTM satellite antennas equipped with dual feeds will be able to benefit from broadband connectivity via KA-SAT and broadcast services delivered by satellites located up to 10 degrees from Ka-SAT’s 9° East location. By driving down terminal and transmissions costs, KA-SAT will also lower the barrier to entry for VSAT services for connecting enterprises, providing back-up for private networks, facilitating emergency communications and for transport markets. With each spotbeam delivering total capacity of 900 Mbps, shared between the forward and return paths, significant new resources will also be opened for services needing high throughput and quality that include regional television, newsgathering and connecting local networks to the Internet backbone.
The deployment of the KA-SAT programme, both in space and on the ground, will be pursued with three key phases prior to full entry into commercial service. The first phase comprises circularising the satellite’s orbit, with four firings of the apogee motor over the coming seven days. Once the satellite is on station at 9° East, it will undergo a series of in-orbit tests. This will be followed by the final phase of integrated validation of the satellite and ground stations before commercial entry into service, which is planned for end May 2011.