Eutelsat picks Chinese launch

It has yet to be formally announced but Eutelsat has reportedly picked China’s controversial Long March rocket to launch a new satellite. The United States forbids the use of any US-made components on Chinese rockets.

The US rules mean that China, for the best part of 10 years, has been limited in the services it can offer and its clients have been drawn from the minor tier of operators such as Nigeria, Venezuela and some Asian nations.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Eutelsat craft is entirely built from non-US sourced components by Thales-Alenia, a Franco-Italian joint-venture.

The newspaper reports that Eutelsat will save about 40% of the $100m or so launch costs by using the Chinese system. The satellite is reportedly due for launch later next year.