New satellite to serve increasing demand for broadband and
broadcasting capacity - serving four continents
Kourou, September 25, 2001-
Eutelsat today announced that its ATLANTIC BIRD 2 satellite has been successfully launched into space and is making its way to 8 degrees West – a key position in geostationary orbit, which makes it a unique satellite capable of reaching four continents from the East coast of the United States and the South American continent, Europe, the Middle East and up to Central Asia as far as the Urals, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
ATLANTIC BIRD 2 lifted off from the European Spaceport in Kourou on September 25th at 23:21 GMT on board an Ariane 4 rocket supplied by Arianespace.
Commenting on the launch Giuliano Berretta, Eutelsat CEO and Chairman of the Board said: "With the launch of ATLANTIC BIRD 2, our 15th launch with Arianespace, Eutelsat now has the youngest operational fleet in the world. This means that our customers will be assured of capacity over the longer term with the most recent technological advances in terms of flexibility and reliability. The increase in capacity at our “Atlantic Gate” neighbourhood, together with the recent announcement that Eutelsat has taken a substantial stake in Hispasat, gives us considerable resource for markets such as those of South America with exciting growth potential. I am also pleased to announce that we have chosen to dedicate this satellite to the memory of Guglielmo Marconi who made the first transatlantic wireless transmissions in December one hundred years ago".
ATLANTIC BIRD 2 provides continuity for traffic carried on Telecom 2A and new bandwidth to the 8 degrees West position, where Eutelsat will also continue to offer Ku-band capacity via Telecom 2D, and brings the number of transponders at this slot to a total of 37. The company’s “Atlantic Gate” neighbourhood will be further strengthened by the launch of a sister satellite – ATLANTIC BIRD 1 – in the first quarter of 2002 to 12.5 degrees West.
Equipped with 26 Ku-band transponders (equivalent to approximately 1 Gbps of capacity), ATLANTIC BIRD 2 will be highly flexible – providing for video, data, re-broadcasting services for cable networks and high-speed Internet applications in the American and European markets. The high power European coverage will also be used for a new generation of digital and multimedia services to the points of presence or direct to the PCs. Clients already signed up include Aramiska that announced at this month’s IBC event in Amsterdam its intention to offer European businesses the first commercial open standard (DVB-RCS) two-way satellite broadband solution.
International and regional customers will be attracted by the new satellite in order to utilise Eutelsat’s extensive experience in offering a wide range of business applications including LAN interconnection, Internet, Intranet, e-mail exchange, desktop videoconferencing, emergency backup communication, tele-training and education, network management, newsgathering and TV contribution links.
After ATLANTIC BIRD 2’s separation from the launch vehicle, a sequence of satellite manoeuvres will be managed for EUTELSAT by the CNES (French Space Agency) from Toulouse. 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 completed. The satellite should be fully operational in the last week of October.
Following the launch, the President of the G. Marconi Foundation, Professor Gabriele Falciasecca, commented: “On 12 December 1901, Guglielmo Marconi succeeded in broadcasting the first radio signal, the letter “S”, from a station at Poldhu in Cornwall to St. John’s on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. He overcame all kinds of technical and environmental problems to achieve this major feat, demonstrating that a global telecommunications system was possible and that the old and new continents would no longer be divided. The ATLANTIC BIRD 2 satellite, which has just been launched, is the realization of a new dream, one hundred years on. I am particularly grateful to Eutelsat and its CEO and Chairman of the Board, Giuliano Berretta, for choosing to dedicate this satellite to Guglielmo Marconi, in remembrance of the great contribution this inventor gave to the development of telecommunications and, indeed, to humanity as a whole.”
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Eutelsat S.A. is one of the world's leading providers of satellite communications solutions for business and private needs. The company provides television and radio broadcasting, Internet access and multimedia entertainment, IP business solutions, corporate network solutions and professional communications applications in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South-West Asia and North and South America. From its HOT BIRD™ and other orbital positions Eutelsat broadcasts 900 TV channels and 560 radio channels to 85 million satellite and cable homes. Eutelsat operates a system of 18 satellites, uses capacity on three additional satellites and has a total of six satellites in construction. Company turnover for 2000 was €686 million. Headquartered in Paris; Eutelsat's workforce comprises 370 people from 23 countries.
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