[SatNews] Eutelsat Communications' EUTELSAT 8 West B telecommunications satellite is being "topped off" this week at the Spaceport, in preparation for its August 20 launch from French Guiana on Ariane 5 Flight VA225.
Fueling activity for the EUTELSAT 8 West B spacecraft is occurring in the S5B preparation hall at Arianespace's South American operations base, readying the satellite for its subsequent integration in the upper position of the Ariane 5 heavy-lift workhorse's dual-payload configuration. Built by Thales Alenia Space, EUTELSAT 8 West B is a 5.8-metric-ton-class relay platform that features 40 operational Ku-band transponders to bring powerful new satellite broadcasting resources to the Middle East and North Africa - primarily to serve DTH markets. It will also introduce a C-band mission to the 8 degrees West orbital slot, with 10 operational transponders connecting to footprints covering the African continent and reaching to South America.
Joining EUTELSAT 8 West B as the lower passenger on next month's Ariane 5 mission is the Intelsat 34 satellite for operator Intelsat. The SSL (Space System Loral)-produced three-metric-ton spacecraft, which also is undergoing preparation in French Guiana, will help meet the media distribution requirements of leading programmers for Latin America, as well as supporting advanced broadband service to maritime and aeronautical providers serving the North Atlantic.
EUTELSAT 8 West B's fueling for Flight VA225 is part of the busy pace of operations across the Spaceport in support of Arianespace's 2015 mission cadence. In parallel, payload and launcher preparation activity is underway for three other missions: Soyuz Flight VS12 on September 10; another Ariane 5 launch (Flight VA226) in September, and Vega Flight VV06, which is planned for November.