Eutelsat Communications has announced that its Eutelsat 70B satellite has been successfully delivered into orbit by a Zenit-3SL rocket operated by Sea Launch AG from the ocean-based Odyssey Launch Platform in international waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Lift-off of the rocket carrying the 5.2 tonne satellite took place on Monday 3 December at 20.44 GMT/UTC. After a one-hour six-minute flight, the Zenit-3SL booster released Eutelsat 70B into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Partial deployment of the solar array was carried out successfully approximately two hours after spacecraft separation.
Following early orbit operations managed by Eutelsat and Astrium engineers and which include circularising the satellite’s orbit, fully extending the solar arrays and deploying the antennas, Eutelsat 70B will undergo a full series of in-orbit tests. The latest satellite to Eutelsat’s fleet is expected to enter full commercial service in mid-January 2013.
Commenting after launch and the first manoeuvres, Eutelsat CEO, Michel de Rosen said: “We are delighted to announce that Eutelsat 70B is on its way to 70.5 degrees East and thank Sea Launch, Energia Logistics and RSC Energia for this flawless launch. With a footprint connecting Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, Eutelsat 70B will be a powerful asset to our in-orbit resources. Its reach into Asia will also be a strong complement to the Eutelsat 172A satellite integrated into our fleet in September following the acquisition of this satellite from GE Capital.”
Built for Eutelsat by Astrium using its E3000 platform, Eutelsat 70B is designed to optimise resources from the 70.5° East orbital slot. With a reported high frequency reuse, four regional beams connected to 48 Ku-band transponders are located on a single platform and the company claims that current capacity at 70.5° East for data and government services, broadband access, GSM backhauling and professional video exchanges has more than doubled.
Eutelsat 70B will replace the Eutelsat 70A satellite which will subsequently be redeployed to another location for continued commercial service.