Eutelsat announces new Ku-band satellite; Gogo is launch customer

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Experienced satellite operator Eutelsat has signed up for a replacement for its 10A satellite. The new fleet addition will be a Ku-band payload, based on the Spacebus NEO platform. 10B is slated for launch in 2022, a year before 10A is set to retire, and will provide welcome additional capacity in the EMEA and North Atlantic region. Eutelsat says they’ve already signed up several providers, but the first to publicly announce its commitment is aviation connectivity specialist Gogo.

Eutelsat 10B will launch in 2022. Image: Eutelsat

Eutelsat orders 10B

Eutelsat has selected Thales Alenia Space to build a replacement to its 10A satellite which is due for retirement in around three years. The replacement satellite, 10B, will be all electric and will carry more capacity than the unit it replaces.

The satellite’s design will enable a continuation of coverage for the EMEA region, as well as two new HTS payloads. The first will cover air and sea routes from the north Atlantic to the Middle East, and the other covering Africa, the Indian Ocean and an expanse of the Atlantic.

Eutelsat 10B
Thales Alenia Space will construct 10B. Photo: Eutelsat

Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat, commented on the deal in a media statement, saying,

“The procurement of EUTELSAT 10B underpins our strategy of focusing our development in the field of connectivity. The selection of its Ku-band payload, in complement to the future KONNECT VHTS operating in Ka-band, reflects our ability to serve our customers in both Ka- and Ku-band with best-in-class space assets. Firm capacity commitments secured with major partners testify to both the quality of coverage at our 10° East location as well as the robustness of demand in the mobile connectivity segment.”

The satellite is slated for launch in 2022, and will be positioned at 10 degrees East. It will provide capacity in C- and Ku-band, at a combined 35 gigabits per second. A launch provider has not yet been identified.

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Gogo is first customer

Inflight connectivity provider Gogo has leased bandwidth on the new satellite. With the position of the new payload, the increased capacity should serve to provide welcome additional throughput in the busy aviation sectors of the North Atlantic, Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.

Delta free inflight WiFi
Gogo is the first to publicly announce a commitment. Photo: Delta

Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo, commented in a press release,

“We are advancing capacity capabilities given the growing demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services. Through our partnership with Eutelsat, Gogo 2Ku will continue to enable the best passenger experience for global airlines.”

Who else will be signing on for Eutelsat 10B?

Gogo is clearly keen to make a noise about its commitment to the new satellite, it won’t be the only provider already signed up to the service. In fact, Eutelsat said in their press release that around a third of the capacity has already been spoken for and that more than one additional connectivity partner is on board.

Although we might hear announcements in the coming days and weeks as to who else is on board for 10B, PaxEx.Aero has taken a stab at who else it might be. They point out that Both Panasonic Avionics and Global Eagle have a high demand for Ku-band services, and are likely to be among those already signed up.

Although 2022 might seem some time away, it’s encouraging to see inflight WiFi providers already taking steps to ensure future connectivity demands can be accommodated.

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