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November 1, 2010

Eutelsat W3B satellite fails to enter orbit

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by Janet Harris

Despite being released successfully by the Ariane 5 rocket on Friday, Eutelsat’s W3B satellite failed to enter orbit at 16 degrees East as planned.

A leak in the W3B platform’s propellant systems meant that the satellite was unable to raise itself to its operational orbit.

Eutelsat is still analysing data from the satellite and is working to identify the cause of the leak.

The satellite was expected to replace Eutelsat’s Eurobird 16, W2M and SESAT 1 satellites, which provide TV, radio, internet and other data services to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Indian Ocean islands.

Eutelsat’s W3C satellite, which is due to launch in the second half of next year, will now replace the failed W3B and in the meantime the existing satellites are considered to have sufficient lifetime to continue to operate as normal.

In a statement, Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO, said: “The loss of the W3B is a disappointment for Eutelsat and our customers.

“We share it with our partners, particularly Thales Alenia Space and the insurance community.

“We will now focus our attention on the delivery of the W3C satellite for entry into service at 16 degrees East by mid-next year and the implementation of a new satellite programme to compensate for this loss.”

W3B was accompanied on the flight by B-Sat Corporation’s TV services platform, BSat-3b, which has not encountered any problems.

Story link: Eutelsat W3B satellite fails to enter orbit

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