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Eutelsat’s 172B satellite has entered commercial service after becoming the fastest satellite to reach geostationary orbit using electric propulsion.

Launched in June, the satellite is also the first to be optimised for in-flight connectivity across the Pacific. Its high throughput (HT) payload, comprising 11 spotbeams, will enable power to be dynamically allocated as aircraft fly high traffic routes in the Asia Pacific region. This will allow Eutelsat’s client Panasonic to better meet passenger demand and ensure consistently high levels of service to airlines.

The satellite is also providing extra bandwidth for video, cellular and maritime services from the 172° East position, with C-band capacity, as well as flexible Ku-band capacity spread across five interconnecting Widebeam service areas. The Ku-band capacity will serve as an overlay to economically deliver live television to passengers in flight.

“As Eutelsat 172B begins commercial activity that will stretch into the 2030s, this is a key moment to thank the men and women at Eutelsat and our colleagues at Airbus for collaborating passionately on a programme that sets a new industry standard. In addition to taking our 172° East location to a new level of performance for clients in the Asia-Pacific, Eutelsat 172B further validates the value of electric propulsion for high-capacity satellites that are core to providing cost-competitive services in the telecoms marketplace,” said Rodolphe Belmer, CEO, Eutelsat

Eutelsat 172B has now taken over the services on Eutelsat 172A, which will move to a different orbital position to serve customers in the Asia-Pacific region.