The successful lift-off of the Ariane rocket carrying the EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite into space lit up the night sky in Kourou, French Guiana. The Ariane launcher ferrying Eutelsat’s newest satellite into space took off on 9 March at 02.20 (05.20 UTC) and delivered EUTELSAT 65 West A into its transfer orbit after a 27-minute flight.
Manoeuvres to fully deploy the solar panels of the 6.5 tonne satellite built by SSL took place on time four hours later. Over the coming days the apogee motor will be fired four times to complete the ascent to geostationary orbit, after which antennas will be fully deployed. Following a series of performance tests EUTELSAT 65 West A will enter full commercial service at 65° West in early May.
Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat, said: “The launch of EUTELSAT 65 West A is a new milestone in the expansion of our Americas footprint. Through a combination of coverage zones and frequency bands it is uniquely placed to respond to the varying requirements of a diverse range of clients. Our thanks go to Arianespace for another flawless ride into space, our 31st by Ariane, and to SSL for its advanced delivery of a sophisticated satellite programme.”
EUTELSAT 65 West A is a tri-band satellite designed to target fast-growing markets across Latin America. Its high-power Ku-band payload is optimised for Direct-to-Home reception and corporate connectivity in Brazil as well as corporate connectivity in Central America, the Caribbean and the Andean region. EUTELSAT 65 West A also features a transatlantic C-band coverage for cross-continental video contribution and distribution and a multi-spotbeam Ka-band payload that will promote broadband access across Latin America, notably Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Peru.
The satellite will be followed into orbit in a few weeks by the all-electric EUTELSAT 117 West B satellite that will be located at 117° West to boost capacity for Latin America broadcast markets.