Second broadband satellite launches successfully

Europe's second - and biggest - satellite dedicated to delivering broadband internet connections has launched successfully.

The six-tonne Ka-Sat - which has the notional capacity to serve up to two million households and has a total throughput of some 70Gbps - lifted off from a Proton rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan and took nine hours and 12 minutes to get into orbit.

Operated by Paris-based Eutelsat and prepared in the UK, the spacecraft will concentrate its services on the estimated tens of millions of European homes in so-called "not-spots".

The spacecraft follows the Hylas-1 platform into orbit. This satellite, operated by Avanti Communications of London, was launched just last month.

Ka-Sat, however, is much bigger, and has a notional capacity to serve up to two million households compared with Hylas's 300,000.

Paris-based Eutelsat is one of the world's big three Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) companies, and transmits thousands of TV channels across its fleet of spacecraft.

It already provides some internet capability on its existing platforms, but Ka-Sat is its first broadband-dedicated endeavour.

It's expected that Ka-Sat will be operational in the second half of the second quarter of 2011.

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