PARIS, June 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL), one of the world's leading satellite operators, announced today that it has selected Thales Alenia Space to build a 40-transponder Ku-band satellite enabling a 50% increase in capacity operated at its 21.5degrees East location in geostationary orbit. Scheduled for launch in third quarter 2012, the satellite will replace Eutelsat's W6 craft at a core neighbourhood anchored for data, professional video and government services across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Weighing in at five tonnes, the new satellite will be based on the Thales Alenia Space Spacebus C3 platform, with a scheduled in-orbit lifetime exceeding 15 years. It will be equipped with one broad footprint sweeping across Europe into North Africa and Central Asia, and two dedicated high-power beams to add increased flexibility for regional coverage of North Africa and the Middle East.
Commenting on the contract, Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO said: "The combination of power, coverage and flexibility we provide at 21.5degrees East has enabled Eutelsat to steadily attract ongoing business at this location over 10 years. We have designed our new satellite to further unlock the potential of this sweet spot for data, professional video and government services and are delighted to entrust its construction to Thales Alenia Space, a longstanding industrial partner for Eutelsat."
"We are very proud to have signed this latest contract with Eutelsat, with whom we have worked very closely for over 20 years," said Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Our top priority has always been to address the specific requirements of each of our customers so we can deliver the most satisfactory solution in terms of technology, costs and lead-times. With the W6A satellite, we will once again be contributing to Eutelsat's fleet expansion, and we are delighted to help one of our most important customers meet its objectives."
This new satellite is the 20th ordered by Eutelsat from Thales Alenia Space. It forms part of Eutelsat's capital expenditure programme of 450 million euros on average per year for the period June 2009 to June 2012.
Key data for W6A Platform: Thales Alenia Space Spacebus C3 Height: 5.1 m Length: 2.0 m Width: 2.2 m Width with solar panels deployed: 35 m Mass at launch: 5 tonnes Power at end-of-life: 12 kW Operational life: 15 years +
About Eutelsat Communications
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is the holding company of Eutelsat S.A.. With capacity commercialised on 26 satellites that provide coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, Eutelsat is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues. At 31 March 2010, Eutelsat's satellites were broadcasting more than 3,500 television channels. More than 1,100 channels broadcast via its HOT BIRD(TM) video neighbourhood at 13 degrees East which serves over 120 million cable and satellite homes in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The Group's satellites also serve a wide range of fixed and mobile telecommunications services, TV contribution markets, corporate networks, and broadband markets for Internet Service Providers and for transport, maritime and in-flight markets. Eutelsat's broadband subsidiary, Skylogic, markets and operates access to high speed internet services through teleports in France and Italy that serve enterprises, local communities, government agencies and aid organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Headquartered in Paris, Eutelsat and its subsidiaries employ nearly 650 commercial, technical and operational employees from 28 countries.
About Thales Alenia Space
European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups' "Space Alliance". Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. The company, which achieved revenues of Euro 2 billion in 2009, has a total of 7,200 employees located in 11 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.
SOURCE Eutelsat Communications