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EAN (European Aviation Network)

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Inmarsat PLC of the UK and Deutsche Telekom have joined forces to create a high-speed broadband service for airlines flying across Europe, combining Inmarsat's S-band satellite and a LTE (Long Term Evolution) ground network, provided by Deustche Telekom. The first integrated network of its kind, the European Aviation Network will enable the European aviation industry to offer a connectivity experience for passengers to rival anything available. Inmarsat Global Ltd. and Deutsche Telekom AG formed a Partnership in EAN.

EAN is the world's first integrated satellite and air-to-ground network dedicated to providing a true in-flight broadband experience for the European aviation industry and for the millions of passengers travelling across Europe. With the full support of the European Commission, broadband takes to the skies. 1) 2) 3)

• Ground-breaking broadband solution for airline passengers integrates satellite and LTE-based terrestrial network for superior performance.

• Key milestones achieved for project, as test flight is successfully conducted in UK and live over-the-air connection achieved in Germany.

• Construction of S-band satellite and rollout of approximately 300 LTE sites across Europe remains on track.

The cooperation of Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom with other market-leaders across Europe, including Thales, Nokia, Cobham SATCOM and OTE, on this pioneering development will strengthen Europe's position as a global technology innovator and support the continued growth of its aviation industry.

 

Components of EAN:

EAN consists of two main components, the MSS (Mobile Satellite Service) satellite component from Inmarsat which covers Europe and the surrounding oceanic regions, and the complementary ground component of Deutsche Telekom, which provides the required capacity in areas with extensive air traffic. 4) 5)

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Figure 1: EAN seamlessly combines S-band satellites and a complementary 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile terrestrial network – the first of its kind worldwide (image credit: EAN partnership)

MSS satellite component:

1) The satellite access station serves as a gateway towards the satellite and connects the feeder links to the core network.

2) Inmarsat S-band satellite, a state-of the-art and custom-designed platform provides multi-beam pan-European coverage.

3) Satellite terminal installed in the aircraft that communicates with the satellite.

CGC (Complementary Ground Component):

4) The CGC terminal system on board of the aircraft that communicates with the terrestrial base stations.

5) Terrestrial base stations located throughout Europe.

6) Evolved Packet Core (Core Network), the place where all the LTE traffic is converged.

Meet-Me-Point:

7) The Inmarsat Meet-Me-Point aggregates all traffic streams, routes it to the ISP (Infrastructure Service Provider), to airline data centers or wherever required. It also contains the traffic shaping and the reporting functions.

8) The ISP Platform of Deutsche Telekom enables authentication, authorization and accounting of the Internet service and its users.

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Figure 2: EAN aircraft components - light, small and low maintenance (image credit: (image credit: EAN partnership)

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Figure 3: EAN Coverage Map (image credit: EAN partnership)

 


 

Inmarsat S-band EAN / Hellas Sat3 satellite

The newest edition to Inmarsat's fleet will provide the satellite element of the integrated EAN (European Aviation Network), set to transform connectivity for airline passengers in Europe. 6)

The Inmarsat S EAN multi-beam satellite is part of a condominium satellite, or ‘condosat', constructed by TAS (Thales Alenia Space), which incorporates a second payload for Hellas-Sat fixed and broadcast satellite services.

Built on the Spacebus 4000 C4 platform, the condosat will weigh about 5.8 tons at launch and will offer payload power of approximately 12.7 kW.

It will be positioned at 39° East, providing EAN mobile satellite services in Inmarsat's S-band spectrum allocation across all 28 member states of the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland.

Satellite mass

2500 kg (without propellant)

Satellite body

At 6m high with a width of 2 m x 2.4 m, it is the equivalent size of a small bus

Satellite components

It comprises more than 600 electronic and radio-frequency units

Solar arrays

Two solar arrays with a total wingspan of 37 m once on-station

Four deployable antennas

Three antennas will receive and transmit signals for the EAN network, covering the different geographical regions of eastern Europe, central Europe and the Iberian peninsula. The fourth antenna is for the Hellas-SAT 3 mission.

Launch mass, satellite mission lifetime

~5.8 tons, ~ 17 years

Table 1: Some satellite parameters

Background: In June 2014, Thales Alenia Space announced today that it will construct a powerful telecommunications condominium satellite, Inmarsat S – Europasat / Hellas-Sat 3, for Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat. The satellite will provide MSS (Mobile Satellite Services), FSS (Fixed Satellite Services) and BSS (Broadcast Satellite Services). 7)

The MSS payload is designed to deliver an S-band service across all 28 member states of the European Union; the FSS/BSS coverage zones are Europe, Middle East and Southern Africa. The Inmarsat S – Europasat payload will offer enhanced mobile services across Europe through a hybrid network, which combines S-Band satellite services with a CGC (Complementary Ground Component) infrastructure. Inmarsat S – Europasat will serve the aviation passenger connectivity services, as well as the safety services for PPDR (Public Protection & Disaster Relief) all over Europe. The Hellas-Sat 3 payload will deliver DTH (Direct-to-Home) and Telecom services in its designated coverage areas, maintaining and expanding Hellas-Sat business reach with additional capacities.

As program prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space is in charge of the design, production, testing and OGD (On Ground Delivery) of the satellite. It will also take charge of the launch campaign, and will support the customers for the LEOP (Launch and Early Operations Phase) and IOT (In-Orbit Tests).

Built on the Spacebus 4000 C4 platform from Thales Alenia Space, Inmarsat S – Europasat / Hellas-Sat 3 will deliver a multi-beam mission in S-band and Ka-band for Inmarsat as well as a powerful Ku/Ka-band mission of 44 Ku and 1 Ka transponders for Hellas-Sat. The satellite will has a mass of about 5.8 tons at launch and will offer payload power of about 12.3 kW. Inmarsat S – Europasat / Hellas-Sat 3 will be positioned at 39° East.

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Figure 4: Photo of the Inmarsat S EAN satellite (image credit: Inmarsat)

 

Development status:

• May 24, 2017: Europasat, the "Inmarsat S-band / Hellas Sat 3" telecommunication satellite, has been shipped to the Kourou launch pad in French Guyana to be launched by Ariane 5 rocket in June. This condominium satellite for Inmarsat and Hellas Sat will provide MSS (Mobile Satellite Services), FSS (Fixed Satellite Services) and BSS (Broadcast Satellite Services). 8)

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Figure 5: The Inmarsat S-band / Hellas-Sat 3 satellite being loaded for delivery to the Kourou launch facility in French Guyana (image credit: TAS)

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Figure 6: Photo of the Europasat container for shipment to Kourou (image credit: TAS)

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Figure 7: Photo of the GSAT-17 satellite in clean room with one of its antennas deployed (image credit: ISRO) 9)

 

Launch: Two communication satellites, Inmarsat S-band EAN / Hellas-Sat 3 and GSAT-17 of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) were launched on June 28, 2017 (21:15 UTC) on an Ariane 5 ECA heavy-lift rocket of Arianespace, designated VA238, from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. 10) 11) 12) 13)

Arianespace has successfully launched the Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN "condosat" – composed of two payloads for operators Hellas Sat and Inmarsat; as well as the GSAT-17 satellite for India's space agency, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).

Hellas Sat, a major satellite operator and subsidiary of Arabsat Group, provides communications services in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa.

The Hellas Sat 3 payload, the second for the operator Hellas Sat and the first to be orbited by Arianespace, will expand the company's business reach by providing direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcast and telecommunications services, as well as the distribution of high-definition (HD) and ultra-high definition (UHD) video content in Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

Inmarsat S EAN is the ninth payload orbited by Arianespace for Inmarsat – a company specialized in global mobile satellite communications – since the launch of MARECS A in 1981.

The Inmarsat S EAN (European Aviation Network) payload comprises the space segment of a new hybrid system, integrating satellite-based services with a complementary ground network developed by Inmarsat's strategic partner Deutsche Telekom.

The EAN network, which will commence commercial services in the second half of 2017, will deliver a truly seamless inflight WiFi service for Europe's airlines and their passengers.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), is confirmed as the launch customer for the new service. IAG has begun equipping its aircraft and aims to have 90% of its short haul fleet complete by early 2019.

Following the launch of GSAT-18 on October 5, 2016, GSAT-17 is the 21st satellite orbited by Arianespace for the Indian space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).

GSAT-17 will join ISRO's fleet of 17 operational telecommunications satellites. It will provide both fixed (FSS) and mobile (MSS) satellite services, and also handle data transmission and search & rescue (SAR) services.

Today's Flight VA238 mission was the 80th successful Ariane 5 launch in a row, a string of successes that started in 2003. Over the last 14 years, the Ariane 5 launcher has orbited 160 satellites for both commercial and government customers, exceeding 677 metric tons.

Table 2: Arianespace statement after the launch of VA238 14)

The Inmarsat S-band/Hellas-Sat 3 "condo sat" spacecraft will support the EAN (European Aviation Network), delivering high-capacity Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) connectivity to airline passengers throughout Europe, on behalf of Inmarsat of London and provide direct television broadcast services over Europe and Africa for the Greek operator Hellas-Sat. The GSAT-17 will support national communications services over India for ISRO.

Orbit: Inmarsat S-band EAN / Hellas-Sat 3 will be launched into GTO (geosynchronous Transfer Orbit) and later be positioned into GEO at 39º E orbital location (35786 km altitude).

Orbit of GSAT-17: The spacecraft (3477 kg) was launched into GTO and will later be positioned into GEO at 93.5ºE. 15)

The Inmarsat S-band EAN / Hellas-Sat 3 satellite will carry two missions; first, the S-band payload (also designated as ‘EuropaSat'), which represents Inmarsat's commitment to deploy an integrated telecommunications network to deliver aviation passenger connectivity services on a EU-wide basis. — Secondly, a 44 Ku-band transponders payload designated ‘Hellas-sat 3' for Hellas-Sat, a majority owned subsidiary of Arabsat that will replace the existing Hellas-Sat 2 satellite and provide more growth capacities to its customers with diversified footprints in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

EAN (European Aviation Network):

EAN is the world's first integrated satellite and air-to-ground service dedicated to providing a true inflight Wi-Fi experience for passengers flying across the busy skies of Europe.

Revolutionizing the onboard experience, EAN will enable passengers to browse the Internet, stream videos, check social media and more on their smart devices in the same way as they expect to on the ground – all at 10-12 km in altitude!

The Inmarsat satellite connectivity will be combined with a 4G LTE-based ground network covering approximately 300 sites, operated by partner Deutsche Telekom. An aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an onboard network communicator for optimal service delivery.

Designed specifically for high-traffic flight paths and busy airport hubs, and with International Airlines Group already signed up as launch customer, EAN will transform the passenger experience for millions of people who have been cut off from fast, reliable and consistent broadband access when they fly.

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Figure 8: Artist's rendition of the deployed Inmarsat S-band EAN / Hellas-Sat 3 satellite (image credit: Inmarsat)

The payload mass for this launch was 10 ,177 kg. The satellites totalled about 9,269 kg, with payload adapters and carrying structures making up the rest.

The protective payload fairing proved by this launch was built from only four instead of the usual 14 panels. Fewer metallic junctions reduced the mass by 107 kg, giving a performance gain of about 10 kg in geostationary transfer orbit.

Different composite material and optimized manufacturing processes also lowered costs. From August onwards, Vega will use fairings built in the same way.

"Switzerland's Ruag Space with Airbus Safran Launchers as prime contractor, developed this fairing under ESA's Launchers Exploitation Accompaniment Program which nurtures innovation within European industry to guarantee independent access to space for Europe.

This new fairing for Ariane-5 qualifies the manufacturing technology that will be used for Ariane-6, which will comprise only two panels," commented ESA's Daniel de Chambure, Ariane 5 Future Mission Manager.

Meanwhile, Arianespace has ordered from RUAG an additional 18 of these 17m long payload fairings for Ariane 5, manufactured out of autoclave. Airbus Safran Launchers is prime contractor and design authority for Ariane 6, an ESA program. 17)

Table 3: Ariane-5 launch proves reliability and flies new fairing. 16) 17)

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Figure 9: Four-panel fairing for Ariane 5 (image credit: ESA)

 


 

Mission status:

• September 11, 2017: Inmarsat today confirmed that the European Aviation satellite has successfully completed its in-orbit tests and now stands ready to support inflight internet services when EAN ( European Aviation Network ) goes ‘live' later this year. - The satellite, built by France's TAS (Thales Alenia Space), was launched by Arianespace in June of this year. 18)

- EAN is the world's first dedicated aviation connectivity solution to integrate space-based and ground-based networks to deliver a seamless WiFi experience for airline passengers throughout Europe. Inmarsat's strategic partner, Deutsche Telekom, is well advanced in the construction of the complementary ground network, which will be fully integrated with the S-band satellite to deliver a truly seamless service for Europe's airlines and their passengers.

- IAG (International Airlines Group), which includes world renowned airline brands such as British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the launch customer for the new service.

- The successful completion of spacecraft and payload testing of the S-band satellite further underlines the momentum that Inmarsat is building in the high-speed broadband IFC (Inflight Connectivity) market, which the company entered in October 2016 with the commercial introduction of GX Aviation, a worldwide service powered by its Ka-band, Global Xpress (Ka-band) satellite constellation.

- Inmarsat now has over 1,200 aircraft installations expected under signed contracts for its IFC services. Mandates have been won from leading airlines worldwide including Avianca, Qatar Airways, Deutsche Lufthansa Group, International Airlines Group, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle.

• June 28, 2017 - First signals from space: Following lift off, the LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) teams from TAS (Thales Alenia Space), Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat will be on standby at the TAS Satellite Control Center in Cannes, France waiting for the first telemetry acquisition, expected approximately 39 minutes into flight, which will be received from the Mingenew Ground Station in Australia (Ref. 6).

- A very long night is then in store for the spacecraft analysts and engineers, who will carry out a series of satellite health checks and maneuvers, including sun pointing acquisition and solar array partial deployment.

- After five days, apogee boost maneuvers will be executed to reach geostationary orbit, when the solar arrays and antennas will be fully deployed and payload in-orbit tests carried out from our Nemea Satellite Control Center in Greece. After in-orbit test completion, satellite control will remain in Nemea, with specific S-band EAN payload commands sent from Inmarsat's Satellite Control Station at our London HQ.

 


1) "European Aviation Network is airborne!," Deutsche Telekom, Nov. 28, 2016, URL: https://www.telekom.com/en/media/media-
information/archive/ean-is-airborne-444776

2) The European Aviation Network," URL: https://www.telekom.com/resource/blob/390304/973659827c
8e68d7db8141a5ed3a3596/dl-150929-datenblatt-data.pdf

3) "For Europe by Europe," URL: http://europeanaviationnetwork.com/innovation-and-partnership

4) "Powering Europe's aviation connectivity," URL: http://europeanaviationnetwork.com/how-it-works

5) "European Aviation Network - The world-leading high-speed broadband solution that's built to meet the needs of Europe's airspace," Inmarsat, URL: https://www.inmarsat.com/aviation/aviation-
connectivity-services/european-aviation-network/

6) Satellite Mission European Aviation Network," Inmarsat, June 28, 2017, URL: https://www.inmarsat.com/inmarsat-s

7) "Thales Alenia Space to build a joint satellite for Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat," TAS, June 5, 2014, URL: http://www.hellas-sat.net/files/File
/pr_inmarsat_hellasat_05062014_en.pdf

8) "The 'Inmarsat S-band / Hellas Sat 3' communication satellite has been shipped to Kourou launch pad in French Guyana," TAS, May 24, 2017, URL: https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/worldwide/space/press-release
/inmarsat-s-band-hellas-sat-3-communication-satellite-has-been-shipped

9) http://www.isro.gov.in/gsat-17/gsat-17-gallery

10) "Inmarsat confirms successful launch of S-band satellite for the European Aviation Network," Inmarsat, June 29, 2017, URL: https://www.inmarsat.com/press-release/inmarsat-confirms-
successful-launch-s-band-satellite-european-aviation-network/

11) "Arianespace Launches a 'CondoSat' for Hellas Sat and Inmarsat," Satnews Daily, June 28, 2017, URL: http://www.satnews.com/story.php?number=1257154639

12) Stephen Clark, "Ariane 5 rocket scheduled for launch Wednesday from French Guiana," Spaceflight Now, June 27, 2017, URL: https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/06/27/ariane-5-rocket-
scheduled-for-launch-wednesday-from-french-guiana/

13) "Arianespace to launch Inmarsat S-band / Hellas-Sat 3 satellite," Arianespace, Dec. 8, 2016, URL: http://www.arianespace.com/press-release/arianespace
-to-launch-inmarsat-s-band-hellas-sat-3-satellite/

14) "Flight VA238: 80th consecutive success for Ariane 5, and a successful mission for Hellas Sat, Inmarsat and ISRO," Arianespace, June 28, 2017, URL: http://www.arianespace.com/press-release/flight-va238-80th
-consecutive-success-for-ariane-5-and-a-successful-mission-for
-hellas-sat-inmarsat-and-isro/

15) "GSAT-17," ISRO, June 29, 2017, URL: http://www.isro.gov.in/Spacecraft/gsat-17

16) ESA, 29 June 2017, URL: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Transportation
/Ariane_5_launch_proves_reliability_and_flies_new_fairing

17) "RUAG Space' New Fairing Makes Debut on the Ariane 5 Launch," Satbews Daily, June 30, 2017, URL: http://www.satnews.com/story.php?number=1184316837

18) "European Aviation satellite confirmed ready for commercial service," Inmarsat Press Release, 11 Sept. 2017, URL: https://www.inmarsat.com/press-release/european-
aviation-satellite-confirmed-ready-commercial-service/

 


The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (herb.kramer@gmx.net).

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