European Space Agency



The Hylas-1 project will develop and demonstrate a series of innovative, new payload technologies and broadband data services to end users in Europe. The project will:

  • Construct a flexible Ka and Ku-band payload, based on state-of-the-art payload components that are fully configurable in orbit,
  • Launch and operate the payload on board the HYLAS satellite,
  • Demonstrate the efficient delivery of Ka-band broadband services with this payload and prove the case for low cost, satellite delivered services to underserved markets across Europe.

A key feature of Hylas-1 is the ability to support a dynamic business environment and provide a system which can be adapted to respond to changes in market requirements for broadband and broadcast satellite services. Part of this capability is built into the inherent flexibility of the satellite payload, the other into the design and implementation of the application related aspects of the system, specifically the Hylas-1 ground facilities.

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The Hylas-1 mission is intended to address the key cost drivers behind the delivery of satellite broadband services – the per MHz cost of satellite bandwidth and the high cost of end user equipment.
These will be minimised through the utilisation of Ka-band spot beams, which allows efficient point-to-point communications with low cost user terminals, and through the in-orbit configuration of the payload to match satellite resources to market requirements.


The main benefits of the Hylas-1 project is two-fold. The development of the GFP equipments carried by Hylas-1 will offer the potential to greatly simplify payloads of the future, by enabling them to be constructed with highly configurable, “off the shelf” components, reducing the need for high levels of bespoke design.

From a service perspective, Hylas-1 will, for the first time in Europe, enable high quality broadband services to be delivered at a cost comparable with terrestrial services such as DSL for consumers and small businesses alike.


The Hylas-1 project foresees the deployment of an end to end communications system comprising five main “segments”:

Space Segment - Astrium is constructing the Hylas-1 satellite including the advanced Ku and Ka-band payloads. The Ka-band payload provides coverage of selected parts of Europe where the greatest commercial opportunities exist for broadband service provision via satellite.

The coverage is implemented by means eight spot beams providing high gain and thereby high EIRP and G/T for compatibility with small and inexpensive transmit/receive end-user terminals. New repeater technology has been exploited to provide extensive service flexibility and re-configurability in-orbit. Specifically:

  • Generic, Flexible Payload (GFP) equipment provides the means to flexibly allocate spectrum (bandwidth) to beams in orbit.
  • “Flexible” TWTAs (offering an in-orbit adjustable saturated output power at near-constant efficiency) provide the means to flexibly allocate power to beams in orbit.

Control Segment - responsible for operation of the Hylas-1 spacecraft, principally the routine and emergency operation of the satellite platform and configuration and monitoring of the communications payload.

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Service Segment - A comprehensive Ka-band Gateway is being developed for Hylas-1 which provides all the necessary baseline facilities required to deliver broadband internet and other applications. Issues particular to Ka-band, such as rain fade, are being addressed through the deployment of spatially diverse antenna facilities.

Applications Segment - whilst broadband services for domestic and business customers form the core application for Hylas-1, the system has been designed to ensure the easy inclusion of other communications applications such as HDTV broadcasting and data contribution and distribution services.

Support Segment - this includes the provision of launch, insurance and regulatory services


The Hylas-1 project was initialised in December 2005 and the industrial contract announced in May 2006*.

This was followed by an intensive design and development phase culminating in a series of Critical Design Reviews in 2007/2008.

The fully tested payload will be delivered for final spacecraft AIT in 2009.

Following launch in mid 2010 by Arianespace, there will be a one year demonstration phase during which the flexibility of the payload and a series of advanced broadband applications will be demonstrated. 

 * public announcement: /node/26143

Current status

Space Segment - payload integration is completed. The spacecraft is being readied to receive the repeater panels shipped from Astrium UK in Portsmouth.

Control Segment - Inmarsat has completed the Qualification Acceptance Review of the Satellite Control Centre. Construction of the TT&C antenna system has been completed and acceptance tests are now in progress. Development of the Flight Operation Procedures continues in preparation with end to end tests between the Satellite Control Centre in London and the spacecraft test facilities in Bangalore foreseen later this year.

Service Segment –-Two Ka band gateway sites have been selected and are being equipped with the required facilities to provide the required standards for satellite services ground stations.


Status date

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 17:27