Eutelsat commissions new W3B satellite from Thales Alenia Space
February 26th, 2008

Eutelsat Communications today announced that Thales Alenia Space has been commissioned to build the W3B satellite which will provide Eutelsat with significant new capacity for broadcasting, telecommunications and broadband services.

Scheduled for launch in the second quarter 2010, W3B will in principle be co-positioned with Eutelsat’s W3A satellite at 7 degrees East. Based on the Spacebus 4000 platform of Thales Alenia Space, the satellite’s 56 transponders will enable Eutelsat to offer significantly enhanced security from 7 degrees East for clients requesting this service, and to increase operational transponders at this neighbourhood by more than 50 per cent.

The procurement of W3B underscores Eutelsat’s objective to transform 7 degrees East into a premium neighbourhood hosting two large satellites. It follows the multi-satellite strategy pursued by Eutelsat at 13 degrees East which has seen the Hot Bird™ satellites 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 almost 200 television channels and also carries professional video and data services.

With the arrival of W3B, operational capacity at 7 degrees East will expand from 44 to 70 transponders. These additional resources will enable Eutelsat to support the expansion of existing customers, notably broadcasters now launching their first HDTV channels, and will also bringfresh capacity to boost Eutelsat’s resources in other regions.

W3B will have three key coverage zones:

* High-power Ku-band coverage of Europe with a beam centred over central Europe and Turkey which is particularly optimised for Direct-to-Home (DTH) reception in these regions.
* Extensive coverage across Extended Europe, and including North Africa and the Middle East as far as central Asia, via a Ku-band beam optimised for professional video links and data networks.
* Ku-band coverage of Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands for regional telecommunications and Internet services. Interconnection with Europe will also be possible with the African coverage through a combination of Ka-band frequencies in Europe and Ku-band frequencies in Africa.

With seven satellites planned for launch before the end of 2010, of which the first two in 2008, Eutelsat is currently pursuing one of the largest in-orbit investment programmes in the satellite sector. Within the framework of this programme, and thanks to the flexibility of its design, W3B will also contribute to securing continuity of services at the orbital positions 16 degrees East, 10 degrees East or 36 degrees East in the event of a failure at launch of W2M, W2A or W7 .

With a scheduled in-orbit life of more than 15 years W3B is the 18th satellite commissioned by Eutelsat from Thales Alenia Space.

(Source: Eutelsat)