Eutelsat Communications has announced that Thales Alenia Space has been commissioned to build the W3C satellite. Eutelsat will select the launcher for the satellite separately at a later stage.
The rapid order of W3C follows Eutelsat’s decision in January not to integrate the W2M satellite into its fleet. This followed a major anomaly that occurred during its transfer from the location used for in-orbit tests to the operating position at 16 degrees East, where its mission was to replace well in advance Eutelsat’s W2 satellite.
As a result, 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 degrees East from 27 to 56 transponders.
W3B had the dual mission of accompanying the expansion and in-orbit redundancy of Eutelsat’s 7 degrees East position and 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 available capacity at 7 degrees East by more than 50% , 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 and underscores Eutelsat’s objective to transform 7 degrees East into a flagship position.
W3C will have three key coverage zones to address markets with strong growth potential: 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 Eastern 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.