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Eutelsat Successfully Launch Konnect Broadband Satellite

Friday, January 17th, 2020 (1:54 pm) - Score 1,980
eutelsat_ariane5_konnect

European satellite operator Eutelsat has successfully launched the first of a new generation of all-electric propulsion based broadband satellites – Eutelsat Konnect – into Geostationary Orbit (GEO) around the Earth, which was put into space via an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

The new spacecraft should complement Eutelsat’s existing KA-SAT satellite (previously sold via the “Tooway” banding before more recently adopting the “Konnect” brand), which has been operating since 2010 (weight of 6.1 tonnes) and manages a total of 82 Ka-band spotbeams (total throughput of beyond 90Gbps). Top download speeds of 30-50Mbps became possible with this satellite and were sold via various UK ISPs (see here).

By comparison Eutelsat Konnect (designed lifespan of 15+ years) – weighing 3.6 metric tons at launch – aims to share 75Gbps of capacity across a network of 65 spotbeams using the Ka-band, which will reach across much of Africa (40 countries) and a big chunk of Europe (15 countries). The company claims that with this platform they should be able to “provide Internet access services for both companies and individuals” at up to 100Mbps.

Konnect is expected to be joined in 2022 by the presence of the Eutelsat Konnect VHTS (very high throughput) satellite, which is currently under construction by Thales Alenia Space. The VHTS is expected to weigh 6.3 tonnes and have a massive Ka-band capacity of 500Gbps.

Eutelsat Konnect will now undergo initial testing before entering full commercial service later this year.

Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat, said:

“Our congratulations to Arianespace and the Guiana Space Center teams for successfully launching our EUTELSAT KONNECT satellite towards geostationary orbit. The collaboration between Eutelsat, Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace on this ambitious satellite programme has resulted in a world-first broadband satellite for the African and European continents that demonstrates the suitability of satellite infrastructure as a means to deliver high quality broadband services, contributing to bridging the digital divide within rural areas.”

Arguably the launch of this new satellite is a lot less interesting in light of the new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations being established by SpaceX, OneWeb and others, which don’t suffer from the same sluggish latency times as more distant GEO spacecraft and should be able to deliver even faster speeds via smaller ground terminals / dishes.

On the other hand LEOs still have a lot to prove and we continue to await the first consumer broadband packages. However it may be another year before these networks can establish the same sort of coverage and reliability as more mature GEO solutions.

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar Rocketman says:

    Ah bless they are trying to make this as interesting as a SpaceX launch.

    Is it me or does this feel like they are launching yesterday’s satellite tech on yesterday’s rocket tech.

    1. Avatar BB says:

      I think you are over estimating SpaceX, I doubt they will be able to sell direct to the consumer with the current expensive CPE required to get the signal from the satellite.

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