Konnect VHTS satellite: the French weapon against SpaceX’s Starlink

Inside the Thales Alenia Space factory in Cannes, this gave engineers a few headaches. The question was simple, and a little nerve-wracking: during its transfer to the test rig, would the Konnect VHTS, the largest satellite ever made by the Franco-Italian group, manage to cross the curves in the cleanrooms on site? The calculations turned out to be reassuring: the satellite of the operator Eutelsat barely passed, a few centimeters. A few months and one crossing of the Atlantic later, the Konnect VHTS is due to be launched on the night of this Tuesday, September 6 (23:45, Paris time), by an Ariane 5 from Kourou. Due to its size, Konnect VHTS will be the only passenger on the flight, while Ariane 5 usually performs double launches.

What exactly is this satellite Ordered in 2018 by Eutelsat from 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 Fréjus and Aix-en-Provence tollbooths. But above all it is its unprecedented power of connectivity. With a speed of 500 Gb per second, seven times faster than its smaller brother Konnect, launched in 2020, the satellite will be able to connect 500,000 French and European households to broadband and thus reduce the cost.digital readout in areas where fiber is unlikely to ever reach. In France, bandwidth will be marketed exclusively by Orange subsidiary Nordnet.

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