Eutelsat Communications announced that it has selected Astrium to build a 48-transponder Ku-band satellite that will be located at its 70.5 degrees East location in geostationary orbit. Scheduled for launch in fourth quarter 2012, the satellite will replace the W5 craft and more than double Eutelsat’s resources at 70.5 degrees East.
The new satellite will be used for a range of professional applications that include government services, broadband access, GSM backhauling and professional video exchanges in Europe, Africa and Central and South-East Asia.
Weighing in at five tonnes, W5A will be based on the Astrium Eurostar E3000 platform with a designed in-orbit lifetime exceeding 15 years. Each of the satellite’s four high-performance fixed beams will be focused over a distinct zone: Europe, Africa, Central Asia and South-East Asia reaching as far as Australia. Through a high degree of on-board connectivity, clients will be able to use the beams either for regional coverage or to interconnect continents. This will support high-growth services that include secure government communications in Central Asia through hubs located in the region or in Europe, business networks between South-East Asia and Africa, and direct connectivity between Europe and Australia.
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO commented on the new satellite in a statement: “The features of W5A underscore Eutelsat’s commitment to optimising resources at each orbital location and increasing the key feature of in-orbit flexibility for customers. The 70.5 degrees East position sits at the crossroads of three continents, enabling businesses and government agencies to carry out rapid, efficient and scaleable connections between Europe, Africa and large parts of Asia. We believe that the exceptionally high flexibility devised for W5A will enable us to respond to the continued strong growth of professional satellite-based services in all these markets. This contract also marks a new milestone in our relationship with Astrium, a longstanding industrial partner for Eutelsat, that will deliver a 19th satellite for our Group.”
For François Auque, CEO of Astrium: “We are very pleased with this new order from Eutelsat. We will deliver the KA-SAT satellite to Eutelsat later this year, followed by Atlantic Bird 7 in 2011 and W5A in 2012. We look forward to continuing the effective and fruitful co-operation that has been developed between our two companies.”
W5A is the 10th telecommunications satellite awarded to Astrium in the past 18 months.
W5A forms part of Eutelsat’s capital expenditure programme of an average of €450 million per year for the period June 2009 to June 2012. (On the picture is the current Eutelsat W5 satellite)