ILS To Launch Eutelsat’s W3D Satellite in Late 2013

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BRUSSELS — An International Launch Services (ILS) Proton rocket will launch Eutelsat’s W3D satellite in late 2013 under a contract ILS announced Nov. 9.

The satellite, ordered by Paris-based Eutelsat in late 2010 following the loss of the W3B spacecraft — which failed just hours after launch when it developed a catastrophic leak in its fuel tank — will carry 56 Ku-band transponders and will be operated at Eutelsat’s 7 degrees east longitude orbital slot.

W3D, which like W3B is a Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000 model, is expected to weigh 5,400 kilograms at launch, Reston, Va.-based ILS said.

In a separate announcement, Eutelsat said its W3C satellite, launched aboard a Chinese Long March rocket Oct. 7, has entered commercial service at 16 degrees east. Traffic from three other Eutelsat spacecraft — Eurobird 16, W2M and Sesat 1 — have been transferred to W3C.

Eutelsat, whose recent quarterly financial results highlighted the company’s need for more in-orbit capacity to meet demand, is scheduled to launch six satellites between 2012 and 2014, including W3D.