Broadband Internet Satellite Launches Successfully

The European satellite is designed to provide consumers with access to faster broadband Internet.

The KA-SAT satellite of Eutelsat Communications has been successfully lofted into orbit by a Proton Breeze M rocket supplied by International Launch Services. Built for Eutelsat by Astrium using the Eurostar E3000 platform, the KA-SAT is a new generation of multi-spotbeam satellite. Its 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 70G bps. The company said the combination of KA-SAT's capacity and ViaSat's SurfBeam technology will make it possible to deliver Internet connectivity for more than 1 million homes, at speeds comparable to ADSL.
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. Lift-off of the 6.1-ton satellite took place on the evening of Dec. 26. 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 center at the Rambouillet teleport and the partial deployment of the solar arrays have already been successfully completed," a company statement said.
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO, commented after successful completion of the first satellite maneuvers, saying he was delighted to confirm that the KA-SAT satellite was on its way to 9 degrees East, and thanked ILS and Khrunichev for the new launch success. "KA-SAT will be the cornerstone of a breakthrough infrastructure deployed by Eutelsat for users across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin," de Rosen said. "By combining a satellite equipped with more than 80 spotbeams and a network of ground stations, this new program will deliver more capacity than any other satellite program deployed worldwide."
He said the new resources in particular will benefit Internet service providers (ISPs), 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 percent of our revenues, with solutions for enterprises and public administrations that drive down costs of terminals and bandwidth," de Rosen said. "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."
KA-SAT will boost to up to 10M bps the speeds of Eutelsat's Tooway consumer broadband service, which has been operated since 2008 by its Skylogic affiliate. Tooway 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 degrees East location, a company release stated.
The deployment of the KA-SAT program, both in space and on the ground, will be pursued with three phases prior to full entry into commercial service. The first phase comprises circularizing the satellite's orbit, with four firings of the apogee motor over the coming seven days. Once the satellite is on station at 9 degrees 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.