May 17, 2013
Europe’s Eutelsat has a new satcom in space following launch of its Eutelsat 3D spacecraft early Wednesday on a Proton Breeze M from Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The new satellite — and a companion to be launched next year — will serve customers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia with Ku- and Ka-band links. From its initial orbital slot at 3 deg. E. Long., the new bird will target the video, telecom, data and broadband markets.
After launch of Eutelsat 3B next year, 3D will be moved to 7 deg. E., according to Eutelsat. It is scheduled to begin service next month.
Built by Thales Alenia Space on its Spacebus 4000 spacecraft bus, Eutelsat 3D lifted off at 12:02 a.m. EDT. Weighing almost 5.5 metric tons on the pad, it was released into its geostationary transfer orbit after a 9-hr., 13-min. mission.
The launch, managed by International Launch Services (ILS), marked the seventh time Eutelsat has used a Proton to orbit a satellite, and the third time this year that International Launch Services has organized a commercial satellite launch on the big Russian rocket.
Meanwhile, Eutelsat and ILS signed a contract May 15 for the launch of another Eutelsat spacecraft, to occur in the 2014-16 timeframe. This flight also will take place on a Proton from Baikonur Cosmodrome.