Double top for Eutelsat

Eutelsat has booked two satellites for launch aboard an upcoming Arianespace rocket. A giant Ariane 5 craft will carry Hot Bird 9 and W2M satellites into orbit at the end of November.

Called Flight 186, the mission will be the sixth Ariane 5 launch in 2008.

Originally the rocket was scheduled for an October launch, but with a somewhat different client manifest. As well as Hot Bird 9, DirecTV was originally planned to be aboard with its DirecTV 7S craft, but 7S has been delayed and will now be launched by Sea Launch early next year.

The vacancy allowed Eutelsat to book the entire rocket capacity. The new manifest includes Hot Bird 9, built by EADS Astrium, which has been at Kourou since Sept 16.

Designed for consumer broadcasting to satellite and cable homes across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, “the high-power Ku-band Hot Bird 9 satellite, equipped with 64 transponders, will join Eutelsat’s 13 degrees East position to increase in-orbit sparing at the Group’s premium video neighbourhood,” Eutelsat announced.

W2M, built by Astrium and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and according to Arianespace, will be shipped from its manufacturing facility Bangalore, India, to Kourou by mid-October.

W2M will be positioned at Eutelsat's 16 degrees East position and looking at central Europe and the Indian Ocean islands, says Eutelsat.