Eutelsat has successfully launched its Eutelsat 172B satellite on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana.
Eutelsat said that the first telemetry data has been received from the satellite and that preparations are now ongoing for solar array deployment on June 3.
Some 22 hours later, robotic arms holding the satellite’s electric propulsion system will be deployed, steering its ascent to geostationary orbit.
Eutelsat 172B is then scheduled to enter into service in the fourth quarter of 2017 – delivering increased capacity for in-flight and maritime connectivity, cellular backhaul, corporate networks, video and government services.
The satellite will be located at 172° East, providing coverage over Asia-Pacific. It is designed to replace Eutelsat 172A, which will continue commercial service at another orbital position.
Following the launch of 172B, Eutelsat has signed a new launch contract with Arianespace, which will provide launch services for three further Eutelsat satellites.
The agreement extends a long-standing partnership between the two firms. The European launch services provider has already launched more than 32 Eutelsat satellites over more than 30 years.
Of the three new satellites due to be launched, the SSL-built Eutelsat 7C will be orbited in 2018, followed in 2019 by Eutelsat Quantum built by Airbus, and the high throughput satellite built by Thales.
“Following today’s historic Ariane launch of Europe’s first high-power all-electric satellite, we are proud to once again team up with Arianespace, a long-standing partner and a leader in Europe’s vibrant space industry,” said Eutelsat chief executive officer, Rodolphe Belmer.
“The technological diversity of the three new satellites entrusted to Arianespace is a compelling reflection of our commitment to innovation for the greater benefit of our customers, and to maintaining our competitiveness.”