Eutelsat W2A ready for April 3 launch
By Robert Briel | March 31, 2009 | 08:35 UK
Europe’s first S-band payload for Mobile Satellite Services is preparing for lift off. With the new satellite, Eutelsat will triple resources in the 10 degrees East neighbourhood.
Eutelsat has confirmed that its W2A satellite has begun final preparations for its upcoming launch by an ILS Proton Breeze M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Lift-off is scheduled for Friday, April 3, in a launch window opening at 22.24 local time in Baikonur.
In addition to delivering significant new Ku-band and C-band resources for Eutelsat, the W2A satellite will take into orbit Europe’s first S-band payload for video and data services for mobile handsets and vehicles. The S-band payload is commercialised by Solaris Mobile, a joint venture established by Eutelsat and SES Astra.
Designed to replace Eutelsat’s W1 satellite at 10 degrees East, W2A will boost and diversify capacity at this position. Built for Eutelsat by Thales Alenia Space, using the Spacebus 4000C4 platform, the satellite’s three distinct payloads will operate in three frequency bands:
46 Ku-band transponders will be connected to a wide footprint of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and a second beam over southern Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean.
10 transponders operating in the C-band will provide coverage of Africa, extending towards India and other parts of Asia as well as Latin America. This new mission at Eutelsat’s 10 degrees East position will strengthen the Group’s response to strong demand for C-band capacity for GSM trunking and for enterprise networks, notably in Africa.
Services in the S-band provided by Solaris Mobile will be operated with a 12-metre antenna deployed on the W2A satellite. Operating in a frequency band immediately adjacent to the UMTS frequencies used for 3G networks, the S-band creates the possibility of a single network spanning Europe for standalone mobile video, data and interactive services via satellite, and hybrid satellite-terrestrial services. Satellite technology will hand over to terrestrial transmitters in built-up areas for deep indoor penetration.
Outside these environments, mobile phones, personal media players and vehicles will operate with direct satellite reception. S-band resources will also be able to support the deployment of communications networks for emergency services in Europe, providing direct interconnectivity between teams operating in the field, vehicles and their home bases