EUTELSAT’s first launch for 2001 brings to Europe new high-power capacity
for digital consumer TV and B2B networks
Paris, Kourou, March 8, 2001
EUTELSAT today announced that its EUROBIRD satellite was successfully launched into space by Arianespace on board an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Lift-off from the Guiana Space Centre took place at 22.51 GMT. The new satellite will be positioned in geostationary orbit at 28.5 degrees East where its 24 Ku-band transponders will be brought into commercial service next month.
The first of three EUTELSAT satellites due for launch this year, EUROBIRD will provide valuable bandwidth and high-power for rapidly expanding digital consumer entertainment and business-to-business networks in western and central Europe. It joins the 18 other satellites operated by EUTELSAT that provide coverage of Europe, Africa, large parts of Asia and connectivity with North America. Capacity on three additional satellites is also used by EUTELSAT according to arrangements with other operators.
EUROBIRD’s coverage of the British Isles will make a powerful contribution to the continued take-up in this market of satellite-delivered digital entertainment, including interactive and enhanced television services. Five million homes up and down the UK and Ireland will be able to receive broadcasts from EUROBIRD via 45cm antennas. Client broadcasters confirmed on the satellite include BskyB, Extreme Sports, Online Classics and Euronews. On the European continent, in particular Germany, the satellite will serve diverse requirements for capacity for corporate networks, IP access and TV channel delivery to cable headends.
Commenting after the launch, EUTELSAT Director General Giuliano Berretta said: "The tremendously high level of commercial interest in our new satellite signals that EUTELSAT is successfully anticipating market demands, delivering capacity that offers high power on the ground and flexible coverage options at an orbital position of strategic importance in Europe. The launch of EUROBIRD, coming a few days after the contract signature of
e-BIRD, underscores EUTELSAT’s commitment to the continued growth and diversification of digital services in Europe. Congratulations also to Arianespace for a perfect maiden ride for the first EUTELSAT satellite on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle".
Following EUROBIRD’s separation, a sequence of satellite manoeuvres are being managed for EUTELSAT by the German Space Operations Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany). They include, within the first few hours, first sun acquisition and partial deployment of the solar array. The satellite’s orbit will be next week fully circularised by four firings of the Apogee Boost Motor and by the end of next week full deployment of the solar arrays and final earth acquisition will be carried out.
As one of the world’s leading satellite operators, Paris-based EUTELSAT enables TV and radio broadcasters, Internet service providers, telecommunications companies and corporations to transmit and receive content throughout Europe and Africa, large parts of Asia and the Americas. EUTELSAT was the first operator in Europe to deliver DVB consumer television and today broadcasts 850 channels to over 84 million satellite and cable homes, making it one of the largest audiences in the world. Fifty-six per cent of EUTELSAT capacity is used for television broadcasting and just over 40 per cent for services that include high-speed Internet access and Internet backbone connections. EUTELSAT turnover for 2000 was 685 million Euros, representing a 45 per cent increase over 1999.
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