Flight VA251 – First Arianespace mission of 2020 a success: Eutelsat Konnect and GSAT-30 in orbit


For its year-opening flight of 2020, Arianespace successfully placed two communications satellites into geostationary orbit: EUTELSAT KONNECT for the operator Eutelsat; and GSAT-30 for ISRO, the Indian space agency.

The launch took place onboard Ariane 5, on Thursday, January 16 at 06:05 pm (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

With this latest launch, Arianespace continues to help reduce the digital divide worldwide, while confirming its leadership in the geostationary orbit launch market.

Today’s launch, designated Flight VA251, was the 315th mission by the Arianespace launcher family and the 107th by an Ariane 5 version.

Following the launch, Arianespace Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “As we enter the year of our 40th anniversary, Arianespace is targeting a record pace in 2020. It begins with this initial success of Ariane 50 at the service of two long-standing customers and partners: the French operator Eutelsat, and ISRO, the Indian space agency. I would like to thank our two loyal customers for entrusting us.

The launch orbited EUTELSAT KONNECT, the first satellite based on the Spacebus NEO platform of Thales Alenia Space, developed with the support and expertise of ESA and CNES. EUTELSAT KONNECT will help reduce the digital divide in Europe and Africa; as will our second passenger on today’s flight, GSAT-30, designed, manufactured and operated by ISRO to enhance communications on the Indian subcontinent. More than ever, placing space at the service of a better life on Earth remains Arianespace’s primary purpose.

With today’s Flight VA251 mission, we have once again clearly underscored our ability to adapt to all customer requirements, while also confirming our leadership in the geostationary orbit launch services market.”

With EUTELSAT KONNECT’s launch, Arianespace contributes to connectivity access and European innovation

The all-electric Ka-band EUTELSAT KONNECT satellite is the 34th Eutelsat relay platform to be launched by Arianespace since its initial mission for this operator in 1983. EUTELSAT KONNECT is the first satellite to use the Spacebus NEO platform from Thales Alenia Space. This project has been developed within the scope of the Neosat program set up by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French CNES.

EUTELSAT KONNECT will offer total capacity of 75 Gbps. It will enable Eutelsat to provide Internet access services for companies as well as individuals at rates up to 100 Mbps. It will contribute to reducing the digital divide by bringing broadband connectivity to 40 countries in Africa and 15 countries in Europe.

In Africa, EUTELSAT KONNECT also will provide shared Internet access between several users based on the creation of public Wi-Fi terminals, with users able to buy coupons that can be paid via their mobile phones.

More than half of all Eutelsat satellites have been orbited by Arianespace. Having six more satellites booked with Arianespace, Eutelsat also is the first commercial customer to order an Ariane 6 launch.

EUTELSAT KONNECT is the 163rd satellite built by Thales Alenia Space to be launched by Arianespace. Five more satellites from this manufacturer currently are in Arianespace’s backlog.

GSAT-30: Arianespace continues its collaboration with ISRO

SAT-30 is the 24th Indian geostationary satellite to be launched by Arianespace. This mission once again illustrates the exceptional relationship between Arianespace and the Indian space agency, starting with the launch of the country’s APPLE experimental satellite in 1981, using the third Ariane launcher on Flight L03.

Designed and built by ISRO, using the enhanced I-3K platform, it will deliver high-quality television, telecommunications and broadcasting services to all of India, including islands, with a design life exceeding 15 years.

A year after the launch of GSAT-31, GSAT-30 will replace the Insat 4A satellite as ISRO continues to use space to bridge the digital divide on the Indian subcontinent, as part of its ambitious space program. This program calls on all types of space applications, including navigation, Earth observation, communications and the broadcast of educational programs, while also contributing to scientific research and planetary exploration.

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