Advanced Television

Eutelsat 36D en route to Florida

March 12, 2024

By Chris Forrester

Eutelsat’s latest satellite, the Airbus Space-built 36D telecommunications craft, is on its way to Florida ready for a month-end launch on a SpaceX rocket.

A giant Airbus ‘Beluga’ aircraft flew the 5-tonne all-electric satellite from Toulouse, via a refuelling stop on Terceira Island in the Azores, and then onward to Florida.

Eutelsat 36D is an Airbus Space Eurostar Neo model fitted with electric thrusters (electric orbit raising) which means a slow-but-steady transfer to its destination orbital position at 36 degrees East.

“Eutelsat 36D is the 22nd geostationary satellite we have built for them and it will provide extended capacity over Africa and Eurasia,” said Philippe Pham, head of Telecommunications & Navigation Systems at Airbus.

With coverage of Africa, Russia and Europe, 36° East is a key orbital slot. Its two satellites, Eutelsat 36B and Eutelsat 36C, together notably support the broadcast businesses of major anchor customers including Multichoice and ZAP in Africa. 36B has an ‘end-of-life’ at the end of 2026.

The satellite was also designed to serve Russia and a couple of important customers Tricolor and NTV+. However, Eutelsat is forbidden to carry channels which carry pro-Russian propaganda because of international sanctions against Russia.

With 70 physical Ku-band transponders, 36D will assure all the main legacy missions of 36B, with enhancements to coverage areas and performance.

The satellite was ordered in March 2021 and with a design life of at least 15 years.

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