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Info Eutelsats W2M fills constellation - 16-March-2009, 12:40

Eutelsats W2M fills constellation

Eutelsat is ordering a new satellite, dubbed W3C, to replace the W2M craft lost after in-orbit problems occurred in January. The new satellite will come from Thales Alenia Space, and should be launched in Q3/2011.

The decision to build a replacement also has Eutelsat having to change some of the upcoming missions and locations. The original plan for W2M was for it to replace well in advance Eutelsat's W2 satellite. As a result of this January problem, Eutelsat decided that the W3B satellite, which is already one year into construction, will replace W2 from the middle of 2010, raising available capacity at 16 deg East to 56 transponders from its current manifest of 27 transponders.

W3B, says Eutelsat, had the dual mission of accompanying the expansion and in-orbit redundancy of Eutelsat's 7 degrees East position and to ensuring a solution for continuity of service in the event of the loss of W2M, W2A or W7. The W3C satellite will now assume this double mission of boosting by more than 50% available capacity at 7 degrees East, or ensuring - if required - Ku-band continuity of service for future satellites, namely W2A, W7 or W3B.

Scheduled for launch in third quarter 2011 and equipped with 56 transponders, W3C will be based on the Spacebus 4000 platform of Thales Alenia Space. Its co-positioning with Eutelsat's W3A satellite will expand capacity at 7 degrees East from 44 to 70 transponders. The co-positioning of both satellites underscores Eutelsat's objective to transform 7 degrees East into a flagship position, repeating the multi-satellite strategy pursued at 13 degrees East which has enabled the Hot Bird satellites to develop into the leading neighbourhood worldwide for the number of channels broadcast.

With optimised coverage of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and central Asia, the W3A satellite at 7 degrees East already broadcasts close to 200 television channels and carries professional video and data services. The additional resources will enable Eutelsat to support expanding business of existing customers, notably broadcasters now launching their first HDTV channels.
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