Eutelsat’s massive 70B craft was successfully orbited from the floating Sea Launch platform overnight on December 3-4. The launch took place at 20.44 GMT on the 3rd. The huge 5.2 tonne satellite is to be placed at 70.5 degrees East.
Eutelsat, in a statement, said the craft’s solar panels had been partly deployed some two hours after launch. The satellite was built by Astrium using its popular E3000 platform, and with its 48 Ku-band transponders will more than double Eutelsat’s operational capacity from 70.5 degrees East serving Europe, Africa, Asia and as far as Australia.
Eutelsat 70B will undergo pre-service tests once in orbit and is expected to enter service in mid-January 2013.