The Eutelsat Connect satellite has been successfully launched into geostationary transfer orbit by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Centre in Korou, French Guiana.
Built by Thales Alenia Space, the satellite, features all-electric propulsion and operates in Ka-band. It is the first one 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 Connect will assure full or partial coverage for up to 40 countries in Africa and 15 in Europe. Offering total capacity of 75 Gbps, by next autumn it will allow the operator to provide internet access services for both companies and individuals at up to 100 Mbps.
Commenting on the launch, Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat,said: “Our congratulations to Arianespace and the Guiana Space Centre teams for successfully launching our Eutelsat Connect satellite towards geostationary orbit. The collaboration between Eutelsat, Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace on this ambitious satellite programme has resulted in a world-first broadband satellite for the African and European continents that demonstrates the suitability of satellite infrastructure as a means to deliver high quality broadband services, contributing to bridging the digital divide within rural areas”.
In a separate development, Eutelsat has provided an update on the status of its Eutelsat 5 West satellite, having previously announced an investigation into a malfunction one of the two solar arrays on October 24, 2019. The investigation confirmed the loss of the satellite’s South solar array, though otherwise the satellite’s performance remains normal.
Eutelsat adds that the attendant power loss means that around 45% of the capacity of the satellite can be operated. The satellite is now expected to enter service this month and meet the designed life time.
A number of mitigation actions aimed at assuring service continuity will be implemented, following the end of life in stable orbit of the satellite, for the largest possible number of customers.
Eutelsat 5 West B is fully insured against the eventuality of a partial or total loss by a launch-plus-one-year insurance for up to €173 million.
The partial non-availability of the satellite B will reduce Financial Year 2019-20 revenues for the operating verticals by €5-10 million. The one-off cost of mitigation, mostly related to the repointing of ground antennae will be between €0-10 million.
In consequence, Eutelsat’s revenue objective for financial year 2019-20 is mechanically revised to between €1,270 million and €1,315 million for the operating verticals.
Eutelsat concludes by saying that all its other financial objectives remain unchanged.