The EUTELSAT 172B satellite of Eutelsat Communications was successfully launched into space tonight by an Ariane 5 rocket that took off at 23.45 GMT (20.45 Kourou time, 01.45 CET). The first telemetry data has been received from the 3.5 tonne satellite and preparations are now ongoing for solar array deployment on 3 June and deployment 22 hours later of robotic arms holding the satellite’s electric propulsion system that will steer its ascent to geostationary orbit. Eutelsat’s new satellite is scheduled to enter into service in fourth quarter 2017.
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.
EUTELSAT 172B also features a new Ku-band multi-beam payload delivering 1.8 Gbps of throughput to serve the world’s fastest-growing region for air traffic. The Asia Pacific represents the largest opportunity for in-flight entertainment and connectivity services, with over 8,000 aircraft to be delivered to the region by 2034.
The customised High Throughput payload on EUTELSAT 172B will be a major growth platform for in-flight connectivity, notably Panasonic Avionics Corporation, one of the leading suppliers of in-flight entertainment and connectivity services for commercial airlines. Eleven elliptical beams will enable Panasonic to bridge the West coast of North America to Asia, and down to Australia, supporting rapid air traffic growth in the region and surges in bandwidth use across densely used flight paths. Panasonic will also use the satellite’s widebeam Ku-band coverage as an overlay to deliver live TV to aircraft.