Eutelsat 8 West Bís shipment at Nice airport, France to Europeís spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in an Antonov aircraft. Photo: Thales Alenia Space

Eutelsat 8 West B has arrived at the European spaceport in French Guiana and is now in final stages of preparation for launch by an Ariane 5 rocket on August 20.

Eutelsat 8 West B will serve the broadcast markets in the Middle East and North Africa. It will shore up the 7/8 degrees West position, hosting Eutelsat and Nilesat satellites that serve over 52 million TV homes from Morocco to the Gulf.

Built for Eutelsat by Thales Alenia Space, the 5.8 tonne satellite is equipped with 40 operational Ku-band transponders optimised to serve DTH markets in North Africa and the Middle East. It will also introduce a C-band mission of 10 operational transponders connected to a vast footprint covering the African continent and reaching west to South America.

The launch is scheduled for August 20, during a launch window opening at 8:10 pm GMT and closing at 12:56 am GMT on August 21. The satellite will go into full commercial service early October following checks to validate its performance in orbit.