Source: France-Diplomatie – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development
The French and European space sector has pulled off another success with the Ariane 5 VA251 mission. By launching the Konnect and GSAT 30 satellites, this mission demonstrates not only the excellence of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle and the performances of the European satellite industry, but also the strength of Franco-Indian space cooperation.
“Once again, this first Ariane 5 flight in 2020 is proof of the excellence of the European launch vehicle – which has thus accomplished its 107th mission. It is cause for confidence and assurance ahead of Ariane 6’s first scheduled launch a year from now.”
Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation
The VA251 mission entailed the launch, on Thursday 16 January 2020 at 22.05 Paris time (21.05 coordinated universal time), of an Ariane 5 rocket carrying the Eutelsat Konnect satellite and GSAT 30 satellite of the Indian space agency (ISRO), both communications satellites, into geostationary orbit.
Konnect is a telecommunications satellite that will enable connection rates of up to 100 Mbps to be offered across Europe and Africa, which is ten times more than five years ago. In this respect it fits squarely into the context of the “Highspeed Broadband France Plan” aimed at providing highspeed broadband coverage nationwide by 2022.
Konnect is also the first satellite to be developed by Thalès Alenia Space (TAS) on the next-generation platform Spacebus Neo. This all-electric propulsion platform was developed as part of the Neosat programme, initiated by the French and European space agencies (CNES and ESA respectively) and backed by Investments for the Future programme (PIA) funding. It paves the way for more economical and efficient satellites.
Frédérique Vidal hailed the future deployment of this first satellite built on the Spacebus Neo platform. “The Neosat programme is a major achievement, the fruit of a particularly innovative public-private partnership and evidence of the European space sector’s ability to pool energy and talent.”
The GSAT 30 telecommunications satellite, meanwhile, was developed by the Indian space agency (ISRO). This launch is part of the long-standing, thriving cooperation between India and France and Europe in the space realm.