W2A On The Way For Eutelsat Via ILS + Thales

International Launch Services (ILS) and Eutelsat Communications S.A. have set a first quarter 2009 launch date for the W2A satellite, which will be the 50th commercial Proton launch for ILS as well as its first mission of the new year.

In addition, the companies have also announced a new contract under which ILS will launch another Eutelsat mission in 2010. That payload is not yet named. Both of these announcements come on the heels of the successful December 10th launch of the ILS Proton Breeze M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. That mission, with the Ciel-2 satellite, was the sixth ILS launch of the year and the 4th successful mission in 4 months’ time. Eutelsat contracted with ILS in 2007 to launch one of its W series satellites on the Proton Breeze M vehicle. W2A was designated as the payload in November 2008. The Proton vehicle is Russia’s premier heavy-lift launcher and is built by Khrunichev Space Center, the majority owner of ILS.

The W2A satellite, built by ThalesAleniaSpace, is a Spacebus 4000 C4 model, similar to the Ciel-II satellite just launched. The W2A spacecraft will carry three payloads, including the first S-band payload for Europe. This feature will launch the Solaris Mobile communications service across the continent. Solaris Mobile is a joint venture between SES ASTRA and Eutelsat Communications. The W2A C- and Ku-band payloads will provide Europe and North Africa with an array of DTH and business services.