Satellite fleet operator Turksat of Turkey will use an aging Eutelsat satellite to maintain rights at Turksat’s 31 degrees east orbital slot while waiting for fresh in-orbit capacity of its own, Turksat and Paris-based Eutelsat announced Dec. 20.

Under the agreement, for which financial terms were not disclosed, Eutelsat will move its Eutelsat 33A satellite, now at 33 degrees east, to 31 degrees east in May, where it will be operated by Turksat.

Eutelsat 33A, a Boeing BSS 376 model launched in 2003 with a contracted 10-year service life, has sufficient fuel to maintain three-axis stabilization until late 2014, Eutelsat estimates. It can be operated for a longer period in a fuel-saving inclined orbit.

Turksat operates two satellites, at 42 degrees and 50 degrees east, and has two satellites under construction, both by Mitsubishi Electric Co. of Japan. The first, Turksat 4A, is scheduled for launch this spring aboard an International Launch Services Proton rocket. It will operate at 42 degrees east, with Turksat 4B to operate at 50 degrees east.

Turksat officials did not respond to requests for comment on their longer-term plans for 31 degrees east.