Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space successfully completes initial flight operations for Eutelsat’s KA-SAT satellite

Paris, 26 January 2011 - KA-SAT, Eutelsat’s high throughput satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space, is now undergoing comprehensive in-orbit testing following its launch at the end of last month. All systems are operating nominally.

Airbus Defence and Space successfully completed its key participation in the initial operations of KA-SAT on 21 January 2011. Eutelsat is now in full control of the satellite to complete payload testing and the final phase of integrated validation with the network of ground stations prior to entry into commercial service.

Airbus Defence and Space will continue to support Eutelsat and monitor the KA-SAT satellite throughout its more than 15 year mission from its satellite control centre in Toulouse, which currently monitors more than 40 geostationary satellites, including 11 for Eutelsat.

Immediately after separation of KA-SAT from the ILS Proton Breeze M launcher on 27 December 2010 in the morning, initial in-orbit operations were executed from the Eutelsat centre in Rambouillet by the control team integrating Eutelsat and Airbus Defence and Space engineers, with Airbus Defence and Space in charge of flight operations, flight dynamics and specialist support. The satellite acquired its geostationary orbit on 2 January 2011, fully deployed its solar panels and the four antenna reflectors. Platform tests were completed successfully, the payload and antenna tracking system were initiated as planned, and the antenna pattern verified. The satellite has now reached its operational position at 9° East.

Built for Eutelsat by Airbus Defence and Space on the Eurostar E3000 platform, and weighing 6.1 tonnes at launch, KA-SAT is the first satellite for Europe and the Mediterranean Basin fully optimised for broadband Internet access, targeting homes and businesses beyond range of terrestrial networks, and capable of making a core contribution to bridging the digital divide. KA-SAT is the world’s most powerful satellite ever built, with a total capacity of more than 70 Gbps, 35 times the throughput of traditional Ku-band satellites. KA-SAT will provide ubiquitous complete coverage of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin through its 82 spotbeams in Ka-band.


About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment, and Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive end-to-end value-added solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.


AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.


Press contacts:

Daniel Mosely (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                      Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 8180

Matthieu Duvelleroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                              Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                   Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                 Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41