Posted: Monday, October 4, 2010
The W3B satellite of Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) was flown into French Guiana on September 30 and has been transferred to the Guiana Space Centre to be readied for launch by Arianespace on October 28. Lift-off of the Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle is scheduled for October 28 in a launch window opening at 21.51 to 23.17 GMT (23.51 to 01.17 CET).
Built by Thales Alenia Space, and weighing in at 5.4 tonnes, Eutelsat's new satellite will be located at 16 degrees East to renew and expand resources at a longstanding orbital position that reaches out to some of the most dynamic markets in the satellite business.
In addition to providing increased capacity for rapidly-expanding video platforms in Central Europe and Indian Ocean islands, W3B will initiate a new mission at 16 degrees East, with bandwidth and coverage for telecom operators and Internet Service Providers in Africa to meet sustained demand for enterprise networks and GSM connectivity.
Scheduled to enter service at 16degrees East in December this year, the satellite will replace Eutelsat's EUROBIRD(TM) 16, W2M and SESAT 1 satellites which will all subsequently be redeployed to alternative positions.
W3B's 56 transponders will be connected to four distinct footprints:
- A high-power footprint of Central Europe for Direct-to-Home broadcasting;
- A widebeam spanning Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia for professional video links and data networks;
- A high-power beam over Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands for DTH broadcasting;
- A beam sweeping across Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands for regional telecoms and Internet services. Interconnectivity with Europe will also be possible via a combination of Ka-band frequencies in Europe and Ku-band frequencies in Africa.
The satellite's launch marks the latest step in Eutelsat's far-reaching investment programme of seven satellites (W3B, KA-SAT, W3C, ATLANTIC BIRD(TM) 7, W5A, W6A, EUROBIRD(TM) 2) to be launched by early 2013 to expand, renew and secure the Group's in-orbit resources.
W3B vital statistics
Platform: Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000
Height: 5.8 m
Length: 2.0 m
Width: 2.2 m
Width with solar panels deployed: 34 m
Mass at launch: 5.4 tonnes
Power at end-of-life: 12 kW
Operational life: 15 years +
Orbital position: 16 degrees East
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