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


Baikonur, - 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.”

About Astrium

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Astrium had a turnover of €4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and Astrium Services for comprehensive end-to-end value-added solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.


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