Eutelsat has ordered a new communications satellite, provisionally called NewBird, from Alcatel Space.

The craft will be equipped with 26 Ku-band transponders switchable to three areas of coverage - a wide beam over Europe, a beam covering North and South America, and a steerable beam. The satellite will be renamed Atlantic Bird 2 and positioned at 8¼W in geostationary orbit in mid-2001.

The NewBird will be based on a Spacebus 3000B platform and built at Alcatel's plants in Cannes and Toulouse, France. It will have a launch mass of 3,000kg (6,600lb) and will operate at 6.39°W.

Alcatel will meet the 16-month "rapid delivery date" for the satellite through an "advanced production policy for the Spacebus platform", says the company.

The new satellite will provide back-up services for Eutelsat satellites and allow the expansion of digital services. The NewBird will continue the services routed by Telecom 2A's 11 ku-band transponders and provide new ones. It will also complement capacity on the Telecom2D satellite, which will move to 8¼W in the second quarter of this year. The new satellite and Telecom 2D will provide 37 Ku-band transponders.

Source: Flight International