December 27, 2010

Russian Proton Rocket Launches Ka-Sat Successfully

Russian space officials said on Monday that the Cosmonaut program placed the European Ka-Sat into orbit overnight by using a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"The satellite was successfully put into orbit at 10:03 Moscow time (0703 GMT)," the Khrunichev space center said Monday in a statement.

The Proton failed to place three Russian navigation satellites into orbit on December 5 after they fell into the Pacific ocean about 900 miles off the coast of Hawaii.

Russia temporarily suspended Proton launches after the incident.  Some experts said that programming errors caused the failure.

Ka-Sat will ensure access to broadband Internet for poorly served terrestrial networks in Europe and Mediterranean basin.  The satellite was constructed by EADS Astrium and Eutelsat, which is Europe's leading satellite operator.

"As many as 30 million households in Europe are not served at all or get high mediocrity of service," said Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen.

"These could be people in the countryside or in the mountains, sometimes not very far from large cities. Ka-Sat is an answer to that problem," he told BBC News.

The Ka-Sat will be positioned about 22,000 miles above the equator at nine degrees east.

The satellite has a total throughput of about 70Gbps.  This will be channeled through 82 spot beams on to different market areas stretching from North Africa to southern Scandinavia.  A small segment of the Middle East will also be reached.

The total flight lasted nine hours and 12 minutes.


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