Eutelsat Communications today announced the deployment on a future satellite of a new generation of advanced functions designed by European industry to further raise the bar of performance, flexibility and signal security. The enhancements will fly for the first time on the EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite which is due to be launched in 2015.

The new functions developed by the satellite’s prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) and CNES are focused on delivering three key benefits:

  • Mitigating the effects of interference by increasing control over uplink frequencies to a satellite;
  • Increasing the number of active channels by optimising a satellite payload’s use of the electrical power generated by its solar panels;
  • Expanding options for repositioning satellites with frequency agile command receivers.

Following development within the framework of ESA’s ARTES and the CNES FLIPProgrammes, these features are now entering the final qualification phase as part of the Atlas programme which was launched by ESA in November 2012 to stimulate the acquisitionof flight heritage of innovative equipment. They will fly for the first time as first-generation components on the high-power EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite designed to support the digital broadcasting market in the Middle East and North Africa. The satellite will be located at the 7/8° West video neighbourhood, one of the most dynamic in the global satellite TV market, already reaching into over 30 million homes.

Mitigating interference

This function involves embarking new-generation frequency converters behind the satellite’s receive antennas. This will put Eutelsat in the unique position to be able to change the frequency of an uplink signal without any impact on the downlink frequency received by user terminals, marking a major breakthrough in the bid for continuity of service for broadcast signals jammed by rogue uplink signals.

Optimising distribution of electrical power
This technology involves embarking a new generation of equipment in the payload’s high power amplification system so that the electrical power used by a channel can be set according to its actual requirement at a given frequency. As the number of channels that can be operated simultaneously is directly linked to the amount of energy produced by solar panels, this innovation brings with it the potential to increase active channels.

More flexible fleet deployment options
This innovation uses a new generation of command receivers that can be set to multiple options, giving enhanced operational flexibility for relocating a satellite from the original position for which it was designed to a new position. It will also improve coordination with other operators when a satellite moves from one position to another.