Konnect VHTS Satellite: The French Weapon Against SpaceX’s Starlink

Inside the Thales Alenia Space factory in Cannes, this gave engineers some headaches. The question was simple and a little stressful: during its transfer to the test equipment, would Konnect VHTS, the largest satellite ever made by the Franco-Italian group, be able to cross the curves in the clean rooms of the site? The calculations finally proved to be reassuring: the satellite of the operator Eutelsat barely passed, by a few centimeters. A few months and an Atlantic crossing later, Konnect VHTS is due to launch on the evening of this Tuesday, September 6 (11:45 pm Paris time) by an Ariane 5 from Kourou. Due to its size, the Konnect VHTS will be the only passenger on the flight, while the Ariane 5 usually performs double launches.

What exactly is this satellite? Commissioned in 2018 by Eutelsat of Thales Alenia Space, the Konnect VHTS is a record-breaking machine. Weighing 6.5 tons, it is 8.8 meters high, the equivalent of a three-story building. Its road transport required the widening of a lane at the tolls in Fréjus and Aix-en-Provence. But it is above all its power of connectivity that is unheard of. With a speed of 500 Gb per second, seven times faster than its younger brother Konnect, launched in 2020, the satellite will be able to connect 500,000 French and European homes to broadband and thus reduce the cost.digital readout in areas where fiber is unlikely to ever reach. In France, the bandwidth will be sold exclusively by Nordnet, a subsidiary of Orange.

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