In orbit failure for Eutelsat W2 replacement

Eutelsat Communications’ new W2N satellite has been rejected by the satellite operator after an in-orbit failure. The EADS Astrium/ISRO Antrix-built satellite was being moved from in-orbit testing to its operating position at 16 degrees East, where the craft was scheduled to replace Eutelsat W2.

Clients at 16 degrees East include ITV Partner, DigitAlb, CanalSat Réunion and Total TV. It is also used as a distribution hub into Central Europe by Sony’s AXN channels.

In a statement, the Paris-based operator said that W2N, launched on December 20, 2008, did not comply with the requirements set with the manufacturers. “In the interests of protecting continuity of service for clients leasing capacity at the 16 degrees East position, Eutelsat has consequently taken the decision that in the current circumstances W2M will not be integrated into Eutelsat’s satellite fleet.” The satellite remains under the control of ISRO and is currently undergoing a full investigation by ISRO and EADS.

Eutelsat will now put into place back-up plans conceived at the time of this latest wave of expansion. While W2 has sufficient resources to remain in place until 2010, W3B that will launch in the middle of that year will now be deployed at 16 degrees East. “Although we don’t want to be in this position you have to take a view on the global resource,” a Eutelsat spokeswoman told Broadband TV News. Eutelsat is now evaluating the options for customers who were anticipating an increase in their capacity at the position.