Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Arianespace launches pair of telecoms satellites

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 02 August 21

The Ariane 5 rocket carried both the Star One D2 satellite, to be operated by Brazil’s Embratel, and the Eutelsat’s Quantum satellite

The end of July marked the successful launch of a pair of communications satellites into geostationary orbit around the Earth.   The Ariane 5 rocket launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at around 9pm on Friday, carrying both the Star One D2 and Quantum satellites into geostationary orbit.    The Star One D2 satellite was built by Maxar Technologies on behalf of Brazilian operator Embratel, with the goal of expanding the operator&rsquo…

The end of July marked the successful launch of a pair of communications satellites into geostationary orbit around the Earth.
 
The Ariane 5 rocket launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at around 9pm on Friday, carrying both the Star One D2 and Quantum satellites into geostationary orbit. 
 
The Star One D2 satellite was built by Maxar Technologies on behalf of Brazilian operator Embratel, with the goal of expanding the operator’s broadband coverage across Central and South America. The device will be able to make use of spectrum in the Ku-, Ka-, C- and X-bands (12–18 GHz, 26.5–40 GHz, 4–8 GHz, and 8–12 GHz, respectively), including an updated X-band payload for government use over the Atlantic region.
 
The satellite will reportedly be used for pay-TV, mobile backhaul, data, video, and internet services for government and enterprise customers. 
 
According to a mission statement from Arianespace, the Star One D2 satellite’s primary objective is to “to expand broadband coverage to new regions in Central and South America, provide internet access to underserved populations and add an updated X-band payload for government use over the Atlantic region.”  
 
Meanwhile, Eutelsat’s Quantum satellite, which was jointly developed by the operator, Airbus Defence and Space, and the European Space Agency, is being hailed as the world’s first universal satellite than can be repeatedly adjusted to customer requirements. It will operate in the Ku-band with eight independently configurable beams, allowing additional flexibility. 
 
As with the Star One D2, this satellite will also focus primarily on data, government, and mobility services. 
 
These satellite launches build on a long-time partnership between the two operators and Arianespace, with the launch service provider having already launched 11 satellites for Embratel and 35 satellites for Eutelsat in the past. 
 
 Satellite connectivity is becoming increasingly interesting for the telecoms sector, as technological advances and shrinking costs make the technology more viable. In recent years, low-Earth orbit satellites, such as SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, have claimed most of the attention from the telecoms sector, since their lower orbital height than their geostationary cousins will make it far more viable for them to provide broadband connectivity for commercial consumers. 
 
Nonetheless, geostationary satellites certainly have a roll to play in this evolving ecosystem, especially when it comes to providing reliable services to mobility focussed industries, like aviation and maritime. 
 
In fact, a combination of low-Earth orbit and geostationary connectivity could provide the most flexible connectivity of all. Just last week, Inmarsat announced that they would soon launch between 150 and 175 low-Earth orbit satellites to compliment their existing geostationary devices, aiming to build a comprehensive network that connects the various satellites to terrestrial networks.
 
This integrated network solution is being called Orchestra, with the new satellites being planned to launch in the second half of this decade.
 
 
What role will satellite connectivity play for the global telecoms ecosystem in the next decade? Hear the experts discussion at this year's Total Telecom Congress
 
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