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ILS To Launch Eutelsat’s W3D Satellite in Late 2013

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.


Peter B. de Selding

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.