Hot Bird 9 and W2M successfully launched

Eutelsat has announced the successful launch of its Hot Bird 9 and W2M satellites from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, by an Ariane 5 ECA rocket.

Speaking at Eutelsat’s Paris headquarters after the live retransmission of the launch, Giuliano Berretta, chairman and CEO, commented: “This successful dual launch of two Eutelsat satellites is a major step forward in our far-reaching in-orbit investment programme for 2008-2011 and clears the way for Eutelsat to accomplish a raft of strategic objectives in terms of managing our in-orbit resources. The first of these objectives is to raise even further the in-orbit sparing capability of our flagship video neighbourhood at 13 degrees East to one of the highest levels in the world by collocating Hot Bird 9 alongside the identical Hot Bird 8 and 6 satellites. The second is to almost double from 20 to 38 the number of transponders at our new 9 degrees East broadcasting position for Europe, with the redeployment to this position of Hot Bird 7A once released from its first mission at 13 degrees East. And the third is that, with W2M, we can renew and reinforce our capacity at 16 degrees East, a leading position for burgeoning digital TV markets in Central and Eastern Europe and islands of the Indian Ocean.”

Lift-off of the Ariane 5 ECA rocket carrying the two satellites, an aggregate mass at launch of 8.3 tonnes, was at 19.35 local time in French Guiana (22h35 GMT, 23.35 Paris time) on Saturday, December 20.

Hot Bird 9 was separated from the launch vehicle 27 minutes after lift-off and the first telemetry reception was confirmed by the Hartebeesthoek earth station in South Africa. W2M was separated from the launch vehicle 32 minutes after lift-off with first telemetry reception confirmed by the Bangalore earth station in India.