Eutelsat, as expected, has ordered a replacement for the failed W3B satellite which failed to orbit on Oct 28. Thales Alenia will build W3D in near-record time, just 24 months, which is speedy for a 56-transponder craft. The order and rapid build commitment means the new satellite should be on station at 7 degrees East in early 2013, and boosting the number of transponders at7 deg E from 44 today to 70.
Eutelsat CEO, Michel de Rosen, said: “Working in close collaboration with industry, Eutelsat is now pushing ahead with timely delivery of W3C to 16° East in mid-2011 and has started the clock on the W3D programme which will be completed in 24 months. Our clear objective is to apply to both programmes all appropriate recommendations of the Inquiry Board currently investigating the loss of W3B. Even as the Inquiry Board continues its work, we are already implementing measures to tighten control of industry’s manufacturing processes.”
W3D will cover three key zones: High-power Ku-band coverage of Europe with a beam centred over Central Europe and Turkey particularly optimised for Direct-to-Home (DTH) reception; 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; Ku-band coverage of Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands for regional telecommunications and Internet services.
Interconnection with Europe will also be possible with the African coverage through a combination of Ka-band frequencies in Europe and Ku-band frequencies in Africa.
From a financial standpoint, W3D replaces the W3B satellite programme that was fully covered by insurance, which translates into a payout of some $331m and which includes the launch rocket costs. A formal Inquiry Board into the loss has yet to report.