Further good news for connectivity across the African continent comes with the announcement of a successful new launch from satellite operator Eutelsat Communications.
The Eutelsat KONNECT satellite was successfully launched into geostationary transfer orbit by Arianespace on 16 January. The launch used an Ariane 5 rocket that lifted off from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, on the morning of that day.
The separation of the all-electric satellite occurred after a 27-minute flight and the spacecraft systems checkout was successfully completed over a period of three hours, says Eutelsat.
Built by Thales Alenia Space, the KONNECT communications satellite features all-electric propulsion and operates in Ka-band. It is the first satellite to use Thales Alenia Space’s all-electric Spacebus NEO platform, developed under the Neosat Partnership Project conducted by the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES).
KONNECT will, Eutelsat says, assure full or partial coverage for up to 40 countries across Africa and 15 over Europe. Offering total capacity of 75 Gbps, by next autumn this high throughput satellite will allow the operator to provide internet access services for both companies and individuals at up to 100 Mbps.
Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat, highlighted the continuing relevance of satellite communications in remote areas of the world when he noted: “This ambitious satellite programme has resulted in a world-first broadband satellite for the African and European continents that demonstrates the suitability of satellite infrastructure as a means to deliver high-quality broadband services, contributing to bridging the digital divide within rural areas."