21 May 2014 – Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, is making the final preparations for the launch of EUTELSAT 3B, the latest spacecraft of the Eutelsat fleet, a leading global satellite operator. EUTELSAT 3B is due to be launched by the Sea Launch Zenit-3SL launch system, directly from the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, into an optimized geostationary transfer orbit on 26 May.
François Auque, Head of Space Systems, said: “The upcoming launch of EUTELSAT 3B, 30 years after EUTELSAT I-F1 went into service, is proof that space-based telecommunications have established themselves over the long term as a result of their utility, or indeed indispensability, in everyday life. It also shows that, having accompanied these developments in satellite communications over 30 years, our company is still able to respond, at the global market level, to one of the leading operators’ demand for innovation, the result of which is that our technologies and the expertise of our engineers and workers are continuously challenged.”
Since EUTELSAT I-F1, Europe’s first commercial telecommunications satellite, went into service in October 1983, Airbus Defence and Space has supported the development of Eutelsat by coming up with a number of its own technological innovations. The two companies were thus the first in Europe to produce optimised satellites for broadcasting television direct to home antennas thanks to their high-power platform from the HOT BIRD series; the first to use lithium-ion batteries in space; and the first to produce a multibeam Ka-band satellite dedicated to providing high-speed internet in Europe.
EUTELSAT 3B is the 20th satellite commissioned by Eutelsat from Airbus Defence and Space, and the eighth to be based on the highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform. With a launch weight of six tonnes and an electrical power of 12 kilowatts, it has been designed to complete more than 15 years’ service in orbit. It will operate 51 transponders in the C, Ku and Ka-bands, and, by means of 10 antennas, will offer regional and national markets wide-area fixed beams or narrow steerable ones by giving them the option to modulate the power and spectrum of each beam in Ka-band.
EUTELSAT 3B will be the third of six telecommunications satellites built by Airbus Defence and Space to be launched in 2014.