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Procurement and launch contracts with Airbus Defence and Space and Arianespace for the EUTELSAT 172B satellite have been signed by Eutelsat.

As an early follow-on programme to EUTELSAT 172A, the new triple mission satellite will provide continuity and expansion capacity at Eutelsat’s 172° East orbital position that is a prime gateway for services in the Asia Pacific region.

The 3.5 tonne satellite to be manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space will be launched by an Ariane 5 rocket in the first half of 2017 and will use electric propulsion for initial in-orbit raising and all station-keeping manoeuvres. The reduction in mass will enable this powerful (13 kW) satellite to be launched with the Ariane 5 lower position, offering lower launch costs. In-orbit raising is expected to take approximately four months.

EUTELSAT 172B will host regular C-band and Ku-band payloads. It will also host the Pacific Ocean region's first Ku-band high throughput payload which Panasonic Avionics Corporation has already selected as its key growth platform for in-flight broadband and live TV for commercial airlines on trans-Pacific and Asian routes.

“With the allocation of the contracts to manufacture and launch EUTELSAT 172B awarded to Airbus Defence and Space and Arianespace, we are placing our trust once again in two industry leaders who understand our rigour and high expectations,” said Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat chairman and CEO. “Through a combination of three distinct payloads, electric propulsion and dynamic power distribution, EUTELSAT 172B reflects our commitment to innovations that benefit our customers around the world and raises the game for the satellite business.”

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