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Thales Alenia Space to Build W3D Satellite for Eutelsat Communications

Satellite Technology

Satellite Technology Feature Article

December 08, 2010

Thales Alenia Space to Build W3D Satellite for Eutelsat Communications

By Nathesh, TMCnet Contributor

Eutelsat Communications, a satellite operator, has contracted Thales (News - Alert) Alenia Space to build it a W3D satellite that will replace the W3B spacecraft lost after its launch on Oct. 28.

W3D will be co-positioned with Eutelsat's (News - Alert) W3A satellite at 7 degrees East to expand operational capacity at this longstanding location to 70 transponders from 44. It is built on Thales’ Spacebus 4000 platform. Eutelsat customers with the new satellite will be receiving additional capabilities to expand their business, and the company will be able to increase in-orbit security and inject new capacity to 7degrees East to capture business opportunities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

According to the company, the W3D satellite features 56 Ku and Ka-band transponders and is supposed to deliver three key coverage zones: high-power Ku-band coverage of Europe with a beam centered over Central Europe and Turkey, particularly optimized for direct-to-home (DTH) reception. The satellite can offer extensive coverage across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East as far as Central Asia, via a Ku-band beam for professional video links and data networks and Ku-band coverage of Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands for regional telecommunications and Internet services. Ka-band frequencies in Europe and Ku-band frequencies in Africa will be blended to interconnect the African coverage with Europe.

Officials with Eutelsat explained that working in close collaboration with the industry, they are now pushing ahead with timely delivery of W3C (News - Alert) to 16degrees East in mid-2011 and has started the clock on the W3D program, which will be completed in 24 months. The company’s clear objective is to apply to both programs all appropriate recommendations of the Inquiry Board currently investigating the loss of W3B. Even as the Inquiry Board continues its work, Eutelsat is already implementing measures to tighten control of the industry's manufacturing processes.

Nathesh is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Nathesh's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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