On 11 October it was announced that the construction order for European satellite operator Eutelsat's communications satellite, Eutelsat 8 West B, had been awarded to Thales Alenia Space. As noted by its name, the satellite will be positioned at roughly 8 degrees west in the Geostationary orbital arc. The satellite will carry 40 Ku-band to meet growing demand for direct-broadcast television across the Middle East and North Africam and 10 C-band transponders for services to Southern Africa and South America.
The news will be a filip to Thales Alenia Space. While it continues to be a force in low Earth orbit satellite construction e.g via its Globalstar construction contract, it remains very much the second European force in full communications satellite construction for Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO). Astrium has top spot in European spacecraft manufacturing in this area.