Satellite operator Eutelsat is growing its fleet again, announcing plans to add a new Ku-band satellite over the Atlantic Ocean. The “10B” satellite, built on the Spacebus NEO platform, is expected to launch in 2022 and will replace Eutelsat 10A in orbit. Eutelsat 10B will deliver significant capacity for terrestrial uses as well as a massive boost to the North Atlantic aviation corridor, boosting the inflight connectivity segment. Gogo is keen on the new satellite, agreeing to lease capacity over Europe and the Middle East from Eutelsat.
The procurement of EUTELSAT 10B underpins our strategy of focusing our development in the field of connectivity. The selection of its Ku-band payload, in complement to the future KONNECT VHTS operating in Ka-band, reflects our ability to serve our customers in both Ka- and Ku-band with best-in-class space assets. Firm capacity commitments secured with major partners testify to both the quality of coverage at our 10° East location as well as the robustness of demand in the mobile connectivity segment.– Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat
The new Eutelsat 10B will feature a pair of high throughput Ku-band payloads. One will focus on the North Atlantic corridor, Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. The second will extend coverage further south over the Atlantic, as well as to African and the Indian Ocean. The two payloads will combine to process more than 50 GHz of spectrum and anticipates delivering 35 Gbps of capacity into the market.
The 10° East location where EUTELSAT 10B will operate has been services by Eutelsat since 1987. The Eutelsat 10A satellite currently in that position is slated to see its operational life end in 2023.
While Gogo is publicly committed to the new satellite with a substantial bandwidth commitment it is not the only inflight wifi connectivity service provider to contract for service on Eutelsat 10B. Eutelsat notes that more than a third of the incremental capacity 10B will deliver over 10A is committed through “firm multi-year capacity commitments” from “several leading in-flight connectivity service partners.”
Panasonic Avionics is a major Ku-band service provider, with multiple airline customers flying the transatlantic routes and is likely to be one of the other vendors with such a contract. Global Eagle also has significant customer demand in Europe (Norwegian, Air France) and the Middle East (FlyDubai) for its Ku-band services, suggesting it could and should also be a customer for the new Eutelsat 10B satellite.
This agreement [with Gogo] highlights the relevance of our newly ordered EUTELSAT 10B for inflight connectivity and we look forward to supporting Gogo as they increase capacity in Europe and the Middle East to provide the best services to their airline partners.– Philippe Oliva, Eutelsat’s Chief Commercial Officer
In addition to the spot beam capacity described above the new Eutelsat 10B satellite will include wide beam transponders in the Ku and C band ranges.
The additional capacity coming online with Eutelsat 10B may also be used to offset potential loss of capacity from the failure of the Eutelsat 5B satellite. Last week the company revealed issues with one of the solar panels of 5B just months into its service period. Full details on the impact of that damage or how it will be mitigated has not yet been disclosed.