Opening up what could be a whole interesting new channel for spacecraft delivery in 2013, Eutelsat has confirmed that its EUTELSAT 70B satellite has been successfully delivered into orbit by a Zenit-3SL rocket operated by Sea Launch AG.
Lifting off from the ocean-based Odyssey Launch Platform in international waters of the Pacific Ocean using a Zenit-3SL booster, the 5.2 tonne satellite had a one-hour six-minute flight to its 70.5° East neighbourhood. After being released into geosynchronous transfer orbit, partial deployment of EUTELSAT 70B’s solar array was carried out successfully approximately two hours after spacecraft separation. EUTELSAT 70B will replace the EUTELSAT 70A satellite which will subsequently be redeployed to another location for continued commercial service.
EUTELSAT 70B will now undergo a full series of in-orbit tests and is expected to enter full commercial service in mid-January 2013. With the new craft’s high frequency reuse, four regional beams connected to 48 Ku-band transponders located on the single platform, Eutelsat says that it is more than doubling current capacity at 70.5° East for data and government services, broadband access, GSM backhauling and professional video exchanges.
Commenting after launch and the first manoeuvres, Eutelsat CEO, Michel de Rosen, said: "We are delighted to announce that EUTELSAT 70B is on its way to 70.5 degrees East and thank Sea Launch, Energia Logistics and RSC Energia for this flawless launch. With a footprint connecting Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, EUTELSAT 70B will be a powerful asset to our in-orbit resources. Its reach into Asia will also be a strong complement to the EUTELSAT 172A satellite integrated into our fleet in September following the acquisition of this satellite from GE Capital.