Astrium prepares for the launch of Eutelsat's high-throughput KA-SAT satellite

Eutelsat's Ka-Sat satellite is now in the final stages of being prepared for launch by an ILS Proton M / Breeze M launch vehicle. The spacecraft was flown from Astrium's Toulouse site to the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 17 November and has been fuelled and mated to the Breeze M upper stage. Combined operations with the launcher had been temporary stopped awaiting results of the commission investigating the recent Proton M/Block DM-03 launch failure. These have now resumed following the Proton clearance for launch. The launch is now scheduled for the 27 December at 3:51 Baikonur time (26 December 2010 at 21:51 UT). Built by Astrium on a Eurostar E3000 platform, the 6.1 tonne satellite is the first to be fully optimised to provide broadband internet access to all European citizens, making a core contribution to bridging the digital divide for consumers and businesses beyond the range of terrestrial broadband. At its launch, KA-SAT will be the world's most powerful satellite, with a total capacity of more than 70 Gbps, 35 times the throughput of traditional Ku-band satellites. From its location in orbit at 9 degrees East, KA-SAT will provide complete coverage across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin through its 82 spotbeams in Ka-band. The Tooway broadband service will be boosted to delivery speeds of up to 10 Mbps download and 4 Mbps upload, meeting expectations of current and future domestic Internet users. KA-SAT will also represent a versatile platform for data communications, local and regional broadcasting, IPTV and emerging video applications needing ultra high-bit rates such as HD digital cinema. "For KA-SAT we have optimised both spatial and spectral resources in order to deliver to Eutelsat a satellite with exceptional throughput - five times greater than that of any other current satellite; we have adapted our Eurostar E3000 platform to the specific mission requirements for impeccable coverage targeting," said Aziz Bouhia, Astrium's KA-SAT project manager. "The multi-spotbeam technology, massive frequency re-use and ultra-high-precision pointing system are key to achieving the unprecedented capacity of 70 Gbps."
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Source: Astrium
Date: Dec 23, 2010