W3C launched 14 days after ATLANTIC BIRD 7: two new satellites set to boost Eutelsat’s in-orbit resources
Paris, 7 October 2011
Eutelsat Communications today announced the successful launch of its W3C satellite by a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China. Partial deployment of the satellite’s solar array was carried out within three hours of separation and will be followed over the coming ten days by manoeuvres that include circularising W3C’s orbit and deploying antennas.
Speaking after the launch, Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO, declared “Our sincere appreciation to Great Wall Industry Corporation for the excellent performance of this launch, and to Thales Alenia Space for their dedication to this sophisticated and challenging programme. This is a new milestone, achieved only 14 days after the launch of our ATLANTIC BIRD™ 7 satellite. With these two new satellites scheduled to enter service during the second quarter of our financial year, Eutelsat will be equipped with new resources to meet strong client demand across dynamic markets in Central Europe, Africa and Indian Ocean islands, strengthening our confidence to meet our objectives for the year.”
Built for Eutelsat by Thales Alenia Space, W3C will replace the EUROBIRD™ 16, W2M and SESAT 1 satellites at 16° East. Through its configuration of 56 transponders, (53 Ku and three Ka), it will address markets for broadcasting and telecom/data services via four footprints:
A high-power footprint optimised for Direct-to-Home broadcasting in Central Europe will anchor the 16° East neighbourhood as a point of reference for satellite TV in the region, serving over 11 million households.
High-power coverage over Indian Ocean islands will support the expansion of pay-TV and accelerate digital switchover in Mauritius and Reunion Island.
A wide footprint serving Europe, North Africa and the Middle East will serve markets for data networks and newsgathering.
A new footprint for 16° East, with Ku coverage stretching from Senegal to Madagascar and enabling connectivity with Europe in Ka-band, will respond to high-growth applications that include GSM backhaul and Internet access for enterprises and public agencies.
W3C is based on the Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000 platform, with a scheduled in-orbit lifetime exceeding 15 years. Eutelsat’s in-orbit expansion programme will continue with the launch of six additional satellites from 2012 to 2014.