Europe's spaceport awaiting Hylas-1 satellite launch

Oct 20, 2010
The Antonov An-124 cargo jetliner bringing Hylas-1 from Bangalore, India, touched down at Rochambeau airport near the capital Cayenne late in the evening of Monday 11 October. The satellite was then off-loaded and moved by road to the Guiana Space Centre where it was placed in the S1B satellite preparation facility. The satellite was therefore integrated and tested at ISRO’s facility in Bangalore, before being flown more than halfway round the world to French Guiana. Credits: ESA

The Hylas-1 telecommunications satellite has arrived at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Its next journey will be to space, on an Ariane 5 launcher towards its operational orbit nearly 36 000 km up.

The Antonov An-124 cargo jetliner bringing Hylas-1 from Bangalore, India, touched down at Rochambeau airport near the capital Cayenne late in the evening of 11 October.

The satellite was then moved by road to the Guiana Space Centre, where it was taken into the S1B satellite preparation facility.

Hylas-1 is now undergoing a final series of health checks before being fuelled, encapsulated within its payload fairing and mated to its Ariane 5 vehicle.

The Hylas-1 telecommunications satellite will operate from from geostationary orbit above the Atlantic at 33.5° West. This first ‘Highly Adaptable Satellite’ contains an advanced communications payload allowing it to provide broadband internet access to consumers and businesses across Europe as well as supporting a range of conventional telecommunications applications and services. Credits: ESA/S. Corjava

The satellite will be launched on 25 November onboard Ariane flight V198, which will be the fifth of six Ariane 5 launches planned for this year.

This first ‘Highly Adaptable Satellite’ will provide broadband Internet access to consumers and businesses across Europe as well as supporting a range of conventional telecommunications services.

While its advanced communications payload was developed in Europe, Hylas-1’s flight-proven I-2K satellite platform was procured by prime contractor EADS Astrium from Antrix Corporation in India, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The satellite was assembled and tested at ISRO’s facility in Bangalore, before being flown more than halfway round the world to French Guiana.

Hylas-1 is an innovative project in more ways than one: this is the first satellite to be developed through a public–private partnership between ESA and a commercial satellite operator. Avanti Communications of London will own and operate the from its geostationary orbital location of 33.5°W.

Explore further: NASA spacecraft almost to Pluto: Smile for the camera!

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