Atlantic Bird 7 launched at sea
08.00 Europe/London, September 25, 2011 By Julian Clover
Eutelsat Communications’ Atlantic Bird 7 has been successfully sent into orbit from the ocean-based Odyssey Launch Platform in international waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The new satellite was delivered into orbit by a Zenit-3SL rocket operated by Sea Launch on Saturday September 24 at 20:18 GMT (22:18 CET). After a 1-hour 7-minute flight, the Zenit-3SL booster released Atlantic Bird into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Partial deployment of the solar array, commanded by Eutelsat from its teleport in Rambouillet, was successfully completed within three hours of separation.
Atlantic Bird 7 is designed to enhance Eutelsat’s capability at 7 degrees West, which has emerged as a key video neighbourhood delivering Arab and international channels into almost 30 million satellite homes across North Africa and the Middle East. Eutelsat operates at 7 degrees West in close collaboration with the Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat, which manages its own system of three satellites at this location.
Commenting on the launch, Eutelsat CEO, Michel de Rosen said: “.This new satellite will deliver headroom for expansion at one of Eutelsat’s fastest growing video neighbourhoods, serving vibrant TV markets in North Africa and the Middle East. It underscores our ambition to make a long-term commitment to digital broadcasting markets in the region and to team with key players to deliver first-class service.
A full series of in orbit tests will now take place before the satellite is moved to 7 degrees West in the second half of October. The 50 transponder payload is 11 more than on the satellite that is being replaced, Atlantic Bird 4A.