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Eutelsat Successfully Launch 500Gbps VHTS Broadband Satellite

Thursday, Sep 8th, 2022 (10:32 am) - Score 928
Eutelsat-Ariane-5-Rocket-with-KONNECT-VHTS-Satellite

European satellite operator Eutelsat, which is also the parent of UK ISP Konnect (We Konnect), are celebrating this morning after confirming the successful launch of their next gen ‘Very High Throughput Satellite’ (VHTS) into Geostationary Transfer Orbit by Arianespace using an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana.

The new satellite, which was built by Thales Alenia Space, is a more traditional one that will sit in a high geostationary earth orbit and cover a wide area – across the UK and Europe. The VHTS is expected to weigh 6.3 tonnes, support 230 beams over Western Europe and have a massive Ka-band (radio spectrum) capacity of around 500Gbps (Gigabits per second).

Eutelsat-VHTS-KONNECT-Satellite

By comparison, the operator’s previous KONNECT satellite weighed “just” 3.6 metric tons at launch, included a designed lifespan of 15+ years, as well as 65 spotbeams and a Ka-band capacity of 75Gbps. Suffice to say, the VHTS (Konnect VHTS) is an absolute monster and could significantly boost broadband speeds from space, albeit while still being hobbled by sluggish latency (ping) times.

The separation of the all-electric VHTS satellite from the rocket occurred after a 28-minute flight and the spacecraft systems checkout was successfully completed over a period of 3 hours. But it will now take a few months of testing before the satellite can officially go live for commercial services.

Eva Berneke, CEO of Eutelsat, said:

“Our congratulations to Arianespace and the Guiana Space Center teams for successfully launching our EUTELSAT KONNECT VHTS satellite into geostationary orbit. Thanks to this fine-tuned collaboration between three French players of excellence, Eutelsat, Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace, we are able to bring connectivity to the next level in Europe and participate in bridging the digital divide everywhere on the continent”.

Naturally, the new VHTS platform isn’t going to match Starlink for latency performance, but it may be able to get closer on download and upload speeds, while also offering bigger data allowances for a much more affordable price than is currently possible. However, we don’t yet know quite what kind of packages the VHTS will enable, but 100Mbps+ class tiers for consumer affordable prices does seem plausible.

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