Chris Forrester
Eutelsat has dumped its plans to use Sea Launch as a rocket launch system for its upcoming W7 satellite launch. Instead it has selected International Launch Services (ILS), which uses the Russian Cosmodrome at Baikonur, and the Proton launch rocket.

Eutelsat’s CEO Giuliano Berretta, in a statement, said: “Timely access to space is an essential component of Eutelsat’s significant satellite expansion programme of nine satellites to launch between 2008 and 2011, and most particularly in the case of W7. With the first three of these new satellites already delivered into orbit by Ariane and the fourth by Proton, Arianespace and ILS have provided us with flawless service, further consolidating our appreciation of the Ariane 5 and Proton vehicles. Concerning Sea Launch, we firmly intend to pursue our discussions with the shared objective of delivering ...ure Eutelsat spacecraft into orbit.”

Eutelsat says the decision to launch with ILS and Proton was taken on the basis of their commitment to meeting Eutelsat’s critical timeframe to launch W7 in mid-November, enabling Eutelsat to bring the satellite into service by the end of 2009. Eutelsat is meanwhile continuing discussions with Se Launch with a view to assigning the launch originally assigned for W7 toi a ...ure Eutelsat satellite.

W7 wil be colocated with W4 at 36 deg E to double resources at one of Eutelsat’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods. Through a configuration of 70 transponders connected to hig-performance fixed and steerable beams, the new satellite will provide coverage of Russia and sub-Saharan Afirca for digital broadcasting services, including pay-TV, and add flexibility for growing markets in central Asia. W7 will also assume all traffic on Eutelsat’s 18-transponder SESAT 1 satellite, which is currently positioned at 36 degrees East, and which will subsequently continue in commercial service at an alternative location.’