A dedicated internet satellite has taken off from French Guiana and is now expected to spend the weeks ahead moving into the correct orbit and being tested before deployment of services early next year.
Launched on an Arian 5 rocket, the Hylas 1 satellite is designed to provide broadband to remote locations without any form of fast internet.
The launch marks a public–private partnership between the European Space Agency and commercial outfit Avanti Communications. ESA telecoms director Magali Vaissiere called it a “creative fast-track for demonstrating and reaping the benefits of satellite high technology as part of an operational mission.”
The British government put £40 million into the development of the spacecraft which is seen as being a critical component of the coalition governments scheme to deliver a minimum of 2Mb/s broadband to every home by 2015. Hylas-1 is capable of serving some 350,000 customers.
Start-up Avanti said that the launch was the first of many satellites with the next satellite already under construction and scheduled for a launch window in a little over a year’s time.