Eutelsat boosts broadcast TV resources for Middle East and North Africa
The Atlantic Bird 7 satellite of Eutelsat Communications has been successfully delivered into orbit by a Zenit-3SL rocket operated by Sea Launch AG from the ocean-based Odyssey Launch Platform in international waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Atlantic Bird 7 is set to bring new capacity to 7 degrees West, a key video neighbourhood delivering Arab and international channels into almost 30 million satellite homes across North Africa and the Middle East. Eutelsat operates at 7 degrees West in close collaboration with the Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat which manages its own system of three satellites at this location.
Following early orbit operations which are managed by Eutelsat and Astrium engineers, and which include circularising the satellite's orbit and deploying the antennas, Atlantic Bird 7 will undergo a full series of in-orbit tests. It will be moved to 7 degrees West in the second half of October to assume broadcasting of the 370 digital and High-Definition channels already delivered from this position by Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 4A satellite. With up to 50 transponders, 11 more than Atlantic Bird 4A, it will also open opportunities for further business development in high-growth markets. Two beams will give better coverage across the Middle East, North Africa and North-West Africa.
Following Atlantic Bird 7's entry into service, Atlantic Bird 4A will be redeployed to an alternative location where it will remain in full commercial service.