Arianespace has launched its first orbital mission of 2020 deploying a pair of communications satellites into a geostationary orbit. The launch is the first of what Arianespace hopes will be a record year.
An Ariane 5 carrying the two communication satellites was launched from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana at 21:05 UTC on January 16. Approximately 27 minutes later, the EUTELSAT KONNECT satellite was successfully deployed into a geostationary orbit from the rocket’s upper stage.
Following the separation of the first of the two communications satellites, the SYLDA was successfully jettisoned. The SYLDA (Système de Lancement Double Ariane) is a framework that allows Arianespace to stack two large payloads on top of one another within the Ariane 5 fairing. Just over 38 minutes after liftoff, the second and final deployment was completed with the GSAT-30 satellite drifting off into its designated geostationary orbit.
The EUTELSAT KONNECT communications satellite is the first to be based on the Spacebus NEO platform developed by aerospace giant Thales Alenia Space. The development of the new all-electric satellite bus received funding from the European and French space agencies. It is hoped that the platform will lower the cost of manufacturing giving Europe a competitive advantage in the market.
Once operational, the EUTELSAT KONNECT satellite will offer a total capacity of 75 Gbps. It will be used used to provide internet services to both businesses and individuals in 15 countries in Europe and 40 countries in Africa at speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
Designed and built by the Indian Space Research Organisation, the GSAT-30 geostationary communication satellite will provide television, telecommunication, and broadcasting services to India. The satellite will replace the INSAT-4A communications satellite, which has been in operation for almost two years over its expected 12-year mission.