Eutelsat W3C begins Long March to 16 East
14.12 Europe/London, October 7, 2011 By Julian Clover

Eutelsat Communications has announced the successful launch of the W3C satellite by a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China.

The Thales Alenia Space-built craft will replace the Eurobird 16, W2M and Sesat 1 satellites that currently reside at 16 degrees East. 56 transponders, 53 at ku and three at the Ka-band will serve broadcasting and telecoms/data markets.

A high-power footprint has been optimised for direct-to-home broadcasting in Central Europe and will anchor the 16 degrees East neighbourhood as a point of reference for satellite TV in the region, serving over 11 million households.

High-power coverage over Indian Ocean islands will support the expansion of pay-TV and accelerate digital switchover in Mauritius and Reunion Island.

A wide footprint serving Europe, North Africa and the Middle East will serve markets for data networks and newsgathering.

Speaking after the launch, Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO, declared “Our sincere appreciation to Great Wall Industry Corporation for the excellent performance of this launch, and to Thales Alenia Space for their dedication to this sophisticated and challenging programme. This is a new milestone, achieved only 14 days after the launch of our Atlantic Bird 7 satellite.”

Both Atlantic Bird 7 and Eutelsat W3C are expected to enter programme service before the end of the year.