EUTELSAT 36D Satellite, Manufactured by Airbus, Transported to the Launch Site Inside the BelugaST

EUTELSAT 36D Satellite, Manufactured by Airbus, Transported to the Launch Site Inside the BelugaST

From Toulouse, France, to Sanford, Florida, USA, the geostationary communications satellite EUTELSAT 36D, developed by Airbus, has been transported on an Airbus BelugaST (A300-600ST). The next stage is to put it into orbit later this month on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The A300-600 based BelugaST fleet is now fully ready for outsized freight transport services globally with the introduction of the new BelugaXL, which is based on the larger A330-200 platform.

With a planned lifetime of more than 15 years, EUTELSAT 36D is based on the most recent type of geostationary telecommunications satellite, the Eurostar Neo. It will offer TV broadcasting (DTH) and government services to Africa, Europe, and eastern regions.

Airbus’s Head of Telecommunications and Navigation Systems, Philippe Pham, stated: “EUTELSAT 36D is the most recent achievement in our extensive collaboration with Eutelsat, which dates back more than 30 years. We have constructed their 22nd geosatellite, which will increase capacity over Africa and Eurasia.

The all-electric EUTELSAT 36D, with its 70 physical Ku-band transponders, will ensure the successful completion of all the primary legacy missions of EUTELSAT 36B while improving performance and coverage.

Now in orbit, it is the fourth Eurostar Neo. As part of a fully digitalized production process, Eurostar Neo satellites combine a higher payload capacity with more effective power and thermal management systems, shorter production times, and optimized prices. Because of Airbus’ EOR (Electric Orbit Raising) capabilities, EUTELSAT 36D can launch with a decreased mass of about five metric tons while still producing 18 kW of electric power, solidifying Airbus’ leadership in electric propulsion globally.

With assistance from the European Space Agency (ESA), the UK Space Agency (UKSA), and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the Eurostar Neo series of Airbus telecommunications satellites is built on a next-generation platform and technology.

This is the third time an Airbus geostationary satellite has been transported to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida by a Beluga transport aircraft. Prior missions are Inmarsat 6-F2 on January 30, 2023, and HOTBIRD 13G on October 17, 2022. The transportation of Airbus satellites on the distinctive Beluga aircraft, a prime example of pan-Airbus synergy, demonstrates Airbus’s capacity to provide an independent European solution.

Sanchita Patil

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