/>
X

Photos: How satellites are made

Inside EADS Astrium's assembly hall...
|
nick-heath.jpg
|
Topic: Networking
40153847-1-1-satellite-build-eads.jpg
1 of 6 EADS Astrium

Inside EADS Astrium's assembly hall...

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 silicon.com 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.

40153847-2-2-satellite-build-eads.jpg
2 of 6 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.

40153847-3-3-plasma-engine-satellite.jpg
3 of 6 EADS Astrium

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

40153847-4-4-satellite-build-solar-array.jpg
4 of 6 EADS Astrium

This is KA-SAT's solar array, which is 40 metres in span. It will be permanently orientated towards the Sun to generate electricity for the satellite.

40153847-5-5-vibrating-satellite-build.jpg
5 of 6 EADS Astrium

Before launch, KA-SAT is subjected to a number of tests at the EADS Astrium facility.

In this test the satellite is placed on a vibrating platform to ensure it can withstand the conditions it will experience being carried into orbit on a rocket.

The satellite will also be placed inside a thermal vacuum test chamber. In the chamber it will be cooled to -170C and heated to 120C to simulate the extremes of temperature found in space.

The satellite's ability to send and receive signals from orbit is also tested in the RF test chamber, a huge room covered in blue foam spikes to absorb excess radiation.

40153847-6-6-satellite-build-final.jpg
6 of 6 EADS Astrium

Another shot of part of KA-SAT being fitted to its propulsion system. The gold foil is the insulation that protects the satellite from extremes of temperature in space.

Related Galleries

Say hello to the early days of web browsers
netscape-shutterstock-189041855.jpg

Related Galleries

Say hello to the early days of web browsers

TRENDnet TUC-ET5G USB-C 3.1 to 5GBASE-T Ethernet adapter
TRENDnet TUC-ET5G

Related Galleries

TRENDnet TUC-ET5G USB-C 3.1 to 5GBASE-T Ethernet adapter

Anker PowerExpand 8-in-1 USB-C hub
Anker PowerExpand 8-in-1 USB-C hub

Related Galleries

Anker PowerExpand 8-in-1 USB-C hub

Netgear Orbi RBK752 tri-band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 mesh
Netgear Orbi RBK752

Related Galleries

Netgear Orbi RBK752 tri-band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 mesh

Plugable UD-CA1A USB-C dock
Plugable UD-CA1A USB-C docking station

Related Galleries

Plugable UD-CA1A USB-C dock

OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter
OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter

Related Galleries

OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter

Plugable super-fast 2.5Gbps Ethernet adapter (in pictures)
Plugable 2.5Gbps Ethernet adapter

Related Galleries

Plugable super-fast 2.5Gbps Ethernet adapter (in pictures)