Astrium set for historic launch of two satellites for Eutelsat
* Astrium is prime contractor for the Ariane launcher and the two satellites
* A new record: seven telecommunications satellites delivered by Astrium in 2008
* HOT BIRD 9™: the 40th Eurostar satellite
* W2M: the first satellite built in cooperation with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Kourou. – Astrium is about to set a new record with the launch of its sixth and seventh telecommunications satellites this year. The two telecommunications satellites for Eutelsat – HOT BIRD™ 9 and W2M – are ready for launch and are currently being integrated with the Ariane 5 ECA rocket. The launch of the W2M satellite onboard an Ariane 5 ECA, designed and built by Astrium, is the fulfillment of the first co-operation agreement in the field of telecommunications satellites between Astrium and Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO.
HOT BIRD™ 9 is the second in a series of three identical satellites that will form Eutelsat’s direct broadcast satellite system, benefiting from a total redundancy of 102 repeaters, from the operator’s prime position at 13°E. Broadcasting over 1100 TV channels to 120 million households, the 13°E orbital location ranks number one in the world in terms of the number of programmes broadcast. HOT BIRD™ 8, 9 and 10 each have 64 Ku-band transponders – three times the capacity of the previous generation of HOT BIRD™ satellites, which were launched ten years ago. HOT BIRD™ 9 is the 40th Eurostar satellite and the 15th satellite based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, which first went into orbit in 2004. HOT BIRD™ 10 will be launched onboard the first Ariane flight in 2009.
W2M is the first satellite built jointly by Astrium and Antrix. Based on an I3K platform W2M comprises a payload equipped with up to 30 Ku-band transponders. It will operate from the 16°E position where it will replace the W2 satellite which has been in operation since 1998. Offering almost 400 TV channels, 16°E is one of the prime TV broadcast orbital positions for central and Western Europe, and due to its steerable spot beam, a flagship location for the islands in the Indian Ocean. As with all satellites in the W family, W2M is designed with flexibility in mind in order to offer a wide range of broadcast and telecommunications services, as well as broadband access.
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