Eutelsat Order Bolsters Lean Year for Thales Alenia Space

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PARIS — Thales Alenia Space will build the Eutelsat 8 West B telecommunications satellite to be operational in 2015 to bolster the 7/8 degrees west television lineup offered by Eutelsat and Egypt’s Nilesat, Thales Alenia Space and Eutelsat announced Oct. 11.

The contract will bolster an otherwise lean year in telecommunications satellite orders for the Franco-Italian satellite builder, which like its European, U.S. and Japanese competitors is awaiting a raft of new orders in the next three months.

Eutelsat 8 West B will carry 40 Ku-band transponders to meet growing demand for direct-broadcast television from the Middle East and North Africa, where some market forecasts show a continued increase in demand for satellite bandwidth in the next 10 years.

The satellite will also carry 10 C-band transponders with beams directed to sub-Saharan Africa and to South America, the latter market being perhaps the most active in the world at the moment in terms of growth of demand for capacity.

Paris-based Eutelsat and Nilesat have a long-standing cooperation agreement for the use of the 7-degree and 8-degree west orbital slots. The two fleet operators deliver more than 800 television channels now, most of them free-to-air, from this orbital position. Eutelsat has said that in 2013 it will move one of its in-orbit satellites to 8 degrees west to capture the growing demand.