EUTELSAT selects Astrium to deliver Atlantic Bird 7 Satellite


Eutelsat Communications has selected Astrium to deliver its new ATLANTIC BIRDô 7 satellite for 7 degrees West. Scheduled for launch in 4th quarter 2011, the satellite will be located at a key neighbourhood for digital broadcasting markets in the Middle East and North Africa, which Eutelsat operates in close collaboration with the Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat. The launch vehicle will be selected by Eutelsat at a later stage.

Following the launch and entry into service of ATLANTIC BIRDô 7 at 7 degrees West, Eutelsat will redeploy the ATLANTIC BIRDô 4A satellite currently at this position to the Groupís premium broadcasting neighbourhood at 13 degrees East, where it will revert to its original name of HOT BIRDô 10. Eutelsat has been operating ATLANTIC BIRDô 4A at 7 degrees West since March this year as part of the first phase of boosting broadcasting capacity at this neighbourhood. Over 450 television channels already broadcast from 7 degrees West to an audience of 38 million homes.

By increasing the volume of Eutelsatís operational Ku-band transponders at 7 degrees West from 26 to up to 50, ATLANTIC BIRDô 7 will virtually double the Groupís in-orbit resources at this position. This new capacity will be brought into operation alongside the Nilesat 101 and 102 satellites operated by Nilesat, which are scheduled to be joined in mid-2010 by Nilesat 201. Within the framework of this collaboration the two companies have agreed to jointly brand 7 degrees West as the ďNILEBIRDĒ neighbourhood.

ATLANTIC BIRDô 7 will be based on Astriumís Eurostar E3000 platform. Optimised for high-growth broadcasting markets, two beams will give superior coverage across the Middle East, including Gulf states, as well as North Africa and North-West Africa.

Up to 44 Ku-band transponders will be connected to a broad high-power footprint serving the Middle East and North Africa for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting.

A second footprint for North-West Africa, across the Maghreb countries and extending down to the Gulf of Guinea, will be connected to a payload of up to 12 Ku-band transponders designed for consumer broadcasting services and equipped to meet high demand for Internet access services.

Eutelsat Communications first announced the commissioning of a new satellite for the 7 degrees West neighbourhood in February on the occasion of its first-half results for the 2008-2009 financial year. This satellite forms part of the Groupís capital expenditure programme for 2008-2011, which amounts to a total investment over the period of 450 million euros on average per year.

ATLANTIC BIRDô 7 is the 18th satellite ordered by Eutelsat from Astrium. Its scheduled in-orbit lifetime exceeds 15 years.

ATLANTIC BIRDô 7 vital statistics

Platform: Astrium Eurostar E3000

Width with solar panels deployed: 33 m

Mass at launch: 4.6 tonnes

Power at end-of-life: 12 kW

Operational lifetime: 15 years +