Eutelsat loses just-launched television satellite

29th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

European satellite operator Eutelsat said Friday it had lost its W3B television satellite the day after it was launched by an Ariane rocket because of an "anomaly".

"Eutelsat Communications announces the loss of the W3B satellite following an anomaly which was detected on the satellite's propulsion subsystem after its launch," the company said in a statement.

"The loss of W3B is a disappointment for Eutelsat and for our customers," said Eutelsat's chief executive Michel de Rosen, in the statement.

"Our attention is now focused on delivering the W3C satellite in mid-2011 and on initiating a new programme to compensate for this loss."

The 5.3-tonne W3B satellite was made by French group Thales Alenia Space and was to provide television coverage in central Europe and the Indian Ocean plus high-speed Internet and mobile telephone access in Africa.

It was the 25th satellite launched by the Arianespace agency for Eutelsat, the Paris-based company which operates satellites in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Eutelsat's shares fell 3.46 percent on the Paris stock exchange after the announcement. The company said it was insured against financial loss from losing the satellite.

W3B was scheduled to replace three existing Eutelsat satellites. These will remain in place until mid-2011 when they will be replaced by a new satellite, W3C, Eutelsat said.

"Eutelsat will also immediately initiate a new satellite programme, called W3D, for a planned launch in the first quarter of 2013."

Arianespace said on Thursday its Ariane 5 rocket had successfully launched W3B for Eutelsat as well as a two-tonne BSAT-3b satellite from its base in Guyana.

The BSAT-3b is to provide television coverage in Japan for the Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation. It was manufactured by US firm Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems.

© 2010 AFP

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