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EUTELSAT 3B satellite blasted into orbit by Sea Launch

Eutelsat Communications has confirmed the successful launch of its EUTELSAT 3B satellite by a Zenit-3SL rocket operated by Sea Launch AG from the ocean-based Odyssey Launch Platform in the Pacific Ocean.

Lift-off of the rocket carrying the six-tonne satellite took place on Monday 26 May at 21.10 GMT/UTC. After a 1-hour flight, the Zenit-3SL booster released EUTELSAT 3B into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Partial deployment of the satellite’s solar array was carried out successfully within two hours of spacecraft separation.

Commenting after launch and first manoeuvres, Eutelsat Chairman and CEO, Michel de Rosen said: “We are delighted to see EUTELSAT 3B on its way to 3 degrees East and thank Sea Launch and Energia for this flawless launch. EUTELSAT 3B will be a strong platform for growth at our 3° East orbital position. Its exceptional range of payloads will enable us to tailor our response to customers operating broadband, data, telecom and video services in a vast footprint spanning from Brazil to Central Asia.”

Following early orbit operations which include circularising the satellite’s orbit, fully extending solar arrays and deploying antennas, EUTELSAT 3B will undergo a full series of in-orbit tests. The latest satellite to Eutelsat’s fleet is expected to enter full commercial service in July. Built for Eutelsat by Airbus Defence and Space using its E3000 platform, EUTELSAT 3B has been designed to increase and diversify Eutelsat’s resources and footprint at its 3° East orbital position. The first commercial satellite to assemble Ku, C and Ka payloads in a single platform, it will operate up to 51 transponders. Its innovative tri-band configuration will enable customers to select from three frequency bands connected to footprints covering Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Brazil.

EUTELSAT 3B will replace the EUTELSAT 3D satellite that will subsequently be copositioned with EUTELSAT 7A at 7° East to provide expansion capacity and enhanced in-orbit security for data, telecom and video markets in Europe, Turkey and Africa.

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