London-based speciality satellite operator Avanti Communications says that its latest satellite, Hylas 3 will not now launch until the third quarter this year and will be brought into commercial use by year-end.
Avanti used the announcement to issue a trading update, which said that bandwidth revenues were only $32 million last year. Avanti is forecasting revenue increases for this year to grow by 125 per cent, and a further 40 per cent in 2020.
Hylas 3 is now extremely late in being launched. Avanti has repeatedly announced launch dates (the last was in July 2018 and promised a launch in Q1 2019).
Hylas 3 is something of a composite satellite. It is also known as EDRC-C (the European Data Relay Satellite -C) and that portion of the craft is managed by the European Space Agency (ESA). It will enable broadband, bi-directional data relay between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and an associated ground segment via either of the EDRS payloads. The EDRS increases the time LEO spacecraft can be in communication with the ground and enables immediate broadband data transfer to the user. It also provides the capability to re-programme LEO Earth observation (EO) satellites in almost real-time.
But the craft has been a long time arriving. The contract was signed in with (the then EADS Astrium) back in May 2013, and promised for launch in 2016, then delayed to mid-2018, then to early 2019 as mentioned above, and now to Q3c2019.
Avanti will use a Ka-band payload on Hylas 3 which is designed to complement the role of Hylas 1. Hylas 3 will focus its beams on Africa.