Eutelsat reports that its newest satellite, KONNECT, successfully launched on an Ariane 5 rocket last week helping the company to increase its Ku-band footprint in orbit. KONNECT is the first in a new generation of satellites and delivers a significant capacity boost to the Europe and Africa region. Its successful launch also helps to offset additional bad news about the 5B satellite launched in 2019 and reported as damaged late last year.
Built by Thales Alenia Space, the EUTELSAT KONNECT communications satellite, features all-electric propulsion and operates in Ka-band. It is the first satellite to use Thales Alenia Space’s all-electric Spacebus NEO platform, developed under the Neosat Partnership Project conducted by the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES).
EUTELSAT KONNECT will assure full or partial coverage for up to 40 countries across Africa and 15 over Europe. Offering total capacity of 75 Gbps, by next autumn this high throughput satellite will allow the operator to provide Internet access services for both companies and individuals at up to 100 Mbps. While Eutelsat remains focused on fixed broadband usage for terrestrial customers the new satellite could improve inflight connectivity performance as well.
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Bad news for Eutelsat 5 West B
Separately, Eutelsat confirmed damage to one of the two solar arrays on its 5B satellite launched in 2019. That satellite is now expected to only deliver 45% of its designed capacity for the duration of its operational life.
The company announced mitigation actions to assure service continuity for customers and expects a 5-10 million euro adverse operating revenue impact in the current fiscal year. The satellite is fully insured against the eventuality of a partial or total loss by a launch-plus-one-year insurance for up to 173 million euros; the ultimate size of the claim remains to be seen.
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