Eutelsat's W2A satellite has been launched by International Launch Services (ILS) from the Baïkonour Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan. Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor of the spacecraft, which will deliver services at the 10° East longitude orbital position. Based on the Thales Alenia Space powerful Spacebus 4000 C4 design, the W2A provides Eutelsat with 46 Ku-band transponders connected to two beams: one beam over Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and a second beam over southern Africa, and islands in the Indian Ocean.

It also provides Eutelsat with a payload of 10 C-band transponders providing coverage of the African continent and extending east to central Asia and India and west to Latin America. The third payload, in the S-band, will be managed by Solaris Mobile, a joint venture established by Eutelsat and SES Astra.

The S-band payload will allow for the delivery of Mobile Satellite Services, including mobile TV and digital radio, directly to mobile users' handsets, which is a first in Europe. This is made possible by a state-of-the-art S-band payload fitted with a 12-meter antenna and operating at 2.2 GHz, the frequency band immediately adjacent to UMTS frequencies used for 3G networks.

"As a long-standing partner to the European operator Eutelsat, we are especially proud of our contribution to the expansion and diversification of their services," said Reynald Seznec, president and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Through this innovative satellite, at the cutting edge of technology, we are enabling the first companies in Europe to offer Mobile Satellite Services. This reflects our ongoing focus on innovation, especially in terms of flexible payloads, and our strategy based on working closely with our customers to support the emergence of exciting new applications."