Airbus gets the first operating GEO request for 2021 for the replacement satellite for Eutelsat

Eutelsat Communications has placed a request with Airbus for Eutelsat 36D geostationary (GEO) satellite that will be deployed in 2024. According to an Airbus Defense and Space spokesperson, this is the first commercial GEO contract agreed for the year 2021.  Eutelsat 36D will replace Eutelsat 36B at 36° East orbital location, where the satellite provides TV delivery as well as government services in Africa, Russia, and Europe, well before its completion of life in 2026. The upcoming satellite will be deployed in the second half of 2024. It will take 5 or 6 months to get it up and running because it is driven entirely by electricity.

Because of the value of 36° East to Eutelsat, spokesperson Marie-Sophie Ecuer stated the company is creating headroom between the accessibility of Eutelsat 36D and the termination of Eutelsat 36B to avoid launch disruptions or other potential disruptions. It is Eutelsat’s third overall critical orbital position in view of transmission sales, as well as second for the government services. Eutelsat 36C also provides coverage from 36° East.

“We are delighted to concentrate our efforts on another of long-term partners, Airbus, to guarantee the sustainability of this critical satellite program,” stated Pascal Homsy, the Eutelsat’s chief technical officer. “The increased service continuity provided by this new state-of-the-art spacecraft will help our major DTH customers in Africa and also Russia.” Eutelsat 36D will be based on the Airbus Eurostar Neo model, with 70 physical Ku-band transponders and a bandwidth of about 18 kW. Six satellites have been ordered by Eutelsat and will be deployed between 2021 and 2024.

Airbus has been on a shopping spree

Eutelsat 36D is 26th satellite purchased from Airbus that has already delivered four of the most advanced all-electric satellites into orbit. According to the European manufacturer, seventeen more all-electric, increased-capacity communications satellites are in the works. Intelsat reached a contract with Airbus for two satellites after 2020, which will be launched in early 2021.

Airbus expects 15-18 GEO orders this year as the commercial market recovers from years of low demand. A collection of the commercial GEO communications satellites demanded in 2020 to support operators in resolving C-band frequencies for cellular 5G networks offered important — although temporary — boosts to the sector.

“The covid disease epidemic has shown the value of stable, effective, and efficient contact,” said an Airbus Defense and Space spokesperson. “We think the structural foundations for a return to growth are in order and sound.” According to Airbus, about 70% of future orders would be substitute satellites such as the Eutelsat 36D, which would address related missions but with potentially different technologies.

“We’ve reached a stage where providers’ satellites have reached the end of their productive lives and would now replace their networks with new technologies and price points, we will provide to satisfy their existing and future market needs,” the spokesman added.

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