Satellite operator Eutelsat is currently working on solving the problems with its W2 satellite at 16 degrees East. Some broadcasts have been transferred to the Eurobird 16 satellite, while two more satellites are now being moved.
The Eutelsat W2M and Sesat V1 satellites are coming to the rescue and should reach the geostationary position of 16 degrees East later today, Friday, January 29. A permanent solution is not expected until late 2010, when the new Eutelsat W3B is scheduled for launch. According to a statement by the operator, “Eutelsat is working with a configuration of Eurobid 16, W2M and SESAT 1 at 16 degrees East together with the clients to continue the process of restoring services.”
The W2 satellite is at the end of its life cycle and should have been replaced by the Eutelsat W2M, which developed serious problems after launch. However, some capacity of this satellite is working and is now being used to solve some of the difficulties. (See Broadband TV News passim)
“On the W2M front, a complete analysis has been done on the satellite’s performance.” according to the operator. “Prior to the W2 incident the decision had been taken that W2M would be deployed for commercial service, although with reduced capacity. W2 is in a secure standby mode. Eutelsat is in parallel analysing the incident in collaboration with Thales.” Adding “This is a proof of Eutelsat planning for any configuration. Eutelsat has the capacity and flexibility to respond to the unexpected.”
In The Netherlands, the failure of W2 has caused big problems for a large number of commercial radio stations including Sky Radio, Radio Veronica and Business Nieuws Radio. These stations are dependent on the satellite for distribution to cable head ends and FM transmitters. Some of these feeds have now been replaced by ISDN streams.
UPDATE – Eutelsat has now announced it has fully restored all services at 16 degrees East (see story on Broadband TV News)