Launched last Friday by an Ariane 5 rocket, the EUTELSAT 172B satellite entered a new phase of its journey in space at 2pm today with the initiation of the ascent to geostationary orbit. The first European high power electric satellite, built by Airbus, will take approximately four months to complete the climb to 172° East, monitored by Eutelsat and Airbus from Toulouse using a dedicated network of stations located around the planet. Eutelsat’s new satellite is scheduled to enter into service in the fourth quarter of this year.
Since launch, EUTELSAT 172B has undergone a series of critical manoeuvres that include positioning of electric propulsion motors attached to robotic arms in preparation for orbit-raising, and the full deployment of solar panels to generate power during this phase.
EUTELSAT 172B will deliver increased capacity for fast-growing applications that include in-flight and maritime connectivity, cellular backhaul, corporate networks, video and government services. It will be located at 172° East, a key neighbourhood providing exceptional Asia-Pacific reach over land and sea, from Alaska to Australia. Designed to replace EUTELSAT 172A, it will provide increased capacity, more power and improved coverage via C and Ku-band payloads connected to a range of service areas. Following the transfer of traffic to the new satellite EUTELSAT 172A will continue commercial service at another orbital position.
Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat, said: "A week since launch, EUTELSAT 172B has passed the critical stages of its deployment before embarking on the ascent to geo. This complex process reflects meticulous preparation by Eutelsat and Airbus teams who have worked hand in hand on a ground-breaking satellite programme customised for Asia-Pacific markets.”