Eutelsat W7 launch re-scheduled for today

By Robert Briel
November 24, 2009 11.53 UK

UPDATE 12.00. International Launch Services (ILS) has informed Eutelsat of a 24-hour launch delay for the W7 satellite, which was originally scheduled to take place yesterday, Monday, November 23, at 14.19 GMT from the from Baikonor cosmodrome in Kazakstan,. The satellite and launcher are both in safe configuration mode. Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre and ILS are now planning to launch the W7 satellite today, Tuesday 24 November at 14:19 GMT.

UPDATE 8.00 AM CET- According to a report from the AFP news agency in Moscow, the launch was postponed on Monday after Kazakh authorities raised objections. ‘The launch of the European space device has been postponed indefinitely by the Kazakh side, even though all documents are in order,’ an official from Russian space agency Roskosmos told Ria Novosti and Interfax. He did not provide further details.

ITAR-TASS news agency, citing a Roskosmos source, reported that the launch of the Eutelsat-W7 satellite could occur on Tuesday at Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome. In recent years, Proton rockets, Russia’s most powerful, have exploded in air several times over Kazakhstan, angering local authorities. Kazakhstan temporarily blocked Proton launches in September 2007 after a rocket crashed near the area where President Nursultan Nazarbayev was located.

UPDATE 12.00 CET – RIA Novosti reports. “The state commission has made a decision to carry out the launch on Tuesday at 17:19 Moscow time [14:19 GMT],” Alexander Bobrenev, a spokesman for Russia’s Khrunichev space center said. At the same time, Bobrenev said he had no information on whether Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov, who is on an official visit to Hong Kong, had signed a government resolution on the launch.

The launch was earlier scheduled for Monday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan but was postponed due to organizational disagreements between the Russian and Kazakh space agencies Roscosmos and Kazcosmos. Kazcosmos on Monday accused Russia’s space agency Roscosmos of constantly changing launch plans from the Baikonur space center, which led to the postponement of the Proton-M carrier rocket launch.

Roscosmos, however, said that it had submitted all necessary documents to its Kazakh partners on time.

The Eutelsat W7 will be co-positioned with the W4 satellite at 36 degres East. It will replace the existing Sesat 1 satellite, expanding capacity at the orbital position.

Featuring up to 70 Ku-band transponders, connected to five downlink beams covering Europe, Russia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, W7 will enable Eutelsat to double the bandwidth available for digital video and telecommunications services in those regions.

While replacing all the Sesat 1 capacity, W7 will also offer new resources over South Africa through a high-power fixed beam. It also has a steerable beam which is ideally suited for DTH applications.