Eutelsat and RSCC Order Satellite from Astrium

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PARIS — Astrium Satellites will build a Ku-/Ka-band telecommunications satellite for Russia’s RSCC and Europe’s Eutelsat to be launched in 2015 to reinforce the two operators’ broadcast lineup at 36 degrees east longitude, RSCC and Eutelsat announced May 15.

The satellite, Express-AMU1/Eutelsat 36C, will carry up to 70 transponders and will add to the television broadcast capacity currently at the 36 degrees east position provided by Eutelsat 36A.

The Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC), which is Russia’s biggest telecommunications satellite fleet operator, will use the satellite to meet increasing demand in the European portion of Russia for satellite television.

Eutelsat will make the same use of the capacity, and in addition will operate a beam over sub-Saharan Africa.

Paris-based Eutelsat said a recent survey it commissioned found that 24 percent of Russia’s 53 million households have satellite television equipment installed, with the audience growing by 25 percent, to 12.6 million homes, in the past two years.

Some 10 percent of the satellite-connected homes receive signals from at least two satellite positions, often necessitating a second dish antenna. Eutelsat said the total population of Russian satellite television antennas is 13.8 million.

The number of Russian homes whose antennas are pointed at the Eutelsat/RSCC 36 degrees east slot has increased by 60 percent in the past two years and now totals 10.7 million. During the same period, the number of Russian television channels broadcasting from 36 degrees east has increased by 48 percent, to 370, according to Eutelsat.

“The 36 degrees east orbital slot serves as an excellent example of successful and mutually beneficial Russian-French cooperation,” RSCC Director-General Yuri Prokhorov said in a May 15 statement. “We are happy that our partnership with Eutelsat is taking another step forward.”