Comms satellite gets ready for launch

Comms satellite gets ready for launch

Summary: At a plant in Toulouse, France, workers put the finishing touches to a communications satellite that will help bring fast broadband to Europe and neighbouring areas in 2011

TOPICS: After Hours

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  • In a hangar in the south of France, workers at EADS Astrium are putting the finishing touches to one of their latest satellites.

    The plant in Toulouse has built about 40 satellites, which today circle the Earth providing television broadcasts, international communications and services to the military.

    Earlier this month ZDNet UK's sister site visited the EADS Astrium assembly hall to see the building of KA-SAT, a Eutelsat Communications satellite, which will bring fast broadband to Europe and neighbouring areas next year.

    Here is KA-SAT without its outer casing, showing the cable feeds that will carry the signals and data to the satellite's antenna.

    The satellite will be able to send and receive a total of 70Gbps, more than any other commercial satellite currently covering Europe.

    Photo credit: EADS Astrium

  • The satellite, seen here from the rear, will be launched in December this year.

    A key use of KA-SAT will be to support a telephone, TV and 10Mbps internet service called Tooway, which will launch in continental Europe, the UK and neighbouring areas next year.

    Photo credit: EADS Astrium

  • Here are some of the plasma thrusters that will propel KA-SAT through space by expelling ions of xenon gas at high speed.

    KA-SAT, which is about the same size as a small truck, is carrying enough fuel to stay in its correct orbit for 16 years.

    Photo credit: EADS Astrium

Topic: After Hours


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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