ESA and Avanti Sign Contract for Highly Flexible Satellite

The European Space Agency and Avanti Screenmedia Group PLC have signed a contract to implement HYLAS (Highly Flexible Satellite). HYLAS is a hybrid Ka-band/Ku-band satellite that will cover Europe. The main purpose of the satellite will be to provide broadband Internet access and to distribute HDTV.

HYLAS will be able to accommodate up to 300,000 simultaneous users. High gain Ka-band spot beams will provide up to eight simultaneously active spot beams, providing capacity equal to more than 40 conventional 33 MHz transponders. The payload is based on combined use of EADS Astrium Ltd. General Flexible Payload Technology and TSAT Flexible Traveling Wave Tubes, allowing satellite power and bandwidth to be optimized for each spot beam as a function of its respective traffic demand. Two flexible Ku-band transponders will be used for HDTV distribution and broadcasting.

"HYLAS will play an important role in demonstrating the advanced technological capabilities of European space companies which are truly competitive on a global scale," said Guiseppe Viriglio, director of European Union and Industry Programmes for ESA. "It also makes significant progress in solving the social problem of poor broadband coverage in many parts of Europe and serves as a template for future large scale projects."

Launch of the satellite is currently planned for late 2008. It will be located at 33.5 degrees West Longitude.