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Eutelsat Communications today confirmed its Eutelsat 8 West B satellite had successfully been put into orbit
To be used to broaden the range TV channels available to 52 million homes across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the 5.8 tonne satellite was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from its base in Kourou, French Guyana, yesterday.
Eutelsat 8 West B partially deployed its solar panels four hours after separation from the rocket – a manoeuvre which will be followed over the coming five days by three firings of the satellite’s apogee motor to complete the climb into geostationary orbit, as well as full deployment of the solar panels and antennas.
“This new satellite also underscores the strength and longevity of our relationship with leading European space companies,” stated Eutelsat deputy CEO Michel Azibert. “Eutelsat 8 West B is the 30th satellite launched for Eutelsat by Arianespace and the 25th built for our company by Thales Alenia Space.
“Over more than 30 years of collaboration we have together raised the bar of performance in space and continue to set new standards.”
Equipped with 40 operational Ku-band transponders designed primarily to serve direct-to-home TV markets, the satellite will provide capacity equivalent to an additional 180 high definition (HD) channels, and is expected to come into commercial service in October 2015.