PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat has begun commercial service of its Atlantic Bird 7 satellite, launched Sept. 24 aboard a Sea Launch rocket, from 7 degrees west and has sold additional capacity to its partner at that orbital slot, Nilesat of Egypt, Eutelsat announced Oct. 24.
Nilesat operates three of its own spacecraft at the same orbital location and has a strategic agreement with Paris-based Eutelsat covering its development.
Atlantic Bird 7, built by Astrium Satellites, carries 50 Ku-band transponders. It is replacing Eutelsat’s Atlantic Bird 4A satellite, which carries 39 transponders and is being moved to Eutelsat’s 3 degrees east orbital slot, where it will be renamed Eutelsat 3C and co-located with the Eutelsat 3A spacecraft.
In addition to moving all its Atlantic Bird 4A customers to Atlantic Bird 7, Eutelsat said it has sold new capacity to Nilesat. Nilesat had booked five transponders aboard Atlantic Bird 4A as part of a 10-year lease announced in November 2010.
Eutelsat spokeswoman Vanessa O’Connor on Oct. 25 declined to say how many new transponders Nilesat is leasing, but said the Egyptian operator is Eutelsat’s largest customer aboard Atlantic Bird 7. Other customers include satellite broadcasters Gulfsat of Kuwait, OSN of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Noorsat of Jordan.