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Airbus Prepares EUTELSAT 36D Satellite for Launch with Innovative BelugaST Transport
File illustration of EUTELSAT 36D.
Airbus Prepares EUTELSAT 36D Satellite for Launch with Innovative BelugaST Transport
by Erica Marchand
Paris, France (SPX) Mar 19, 2024

The Airbus-built geostationary telecommunications satellite, EUTELSAT 36D, was recently transported from Toulouse, France, to Sanford, Florida, USA, utilizing the Airbus BelugaST, marking a significant step towards its launch at the Kennedy Space Center later this month on a SpaceX Falcon 9. This move underscores the full global freight transport capabilities of the Airbus BelugaST fleet, particularly for outsized payloads.

EUTELSAT 36D, embodying the cutting-edge Eurostar Neo geostationary telecommunications satellite technology, is set to enhance TV broadcasting and government services across Africa, Europe, and Eastern countries with a service life exceeding 15 years. Philippe Pham, Head of Telecommunications and Navigation Systems at Airbus, highlighted the satellite as a testament to the enduring partnership between Airbus and Eutelsat, which spans over three decades, noting it as the 22nd satellite Airbus has built for Eutelsat.

The satellite boasts 70 Ku-band transponders and leverages all-electric propulsion to ensure legacy missions of EUTELSAT 36B are not only maintained but also improved in terms of coverage and performance. EUTELSAT 36D distinguishes itself with an 18 kW electric power capacity and a launch mass of around five metric tonnes, benefiting from Airbus' Electric Orbit Raising (EOR) capability, reinforcing Airbus as a leader in electric propulsion.

The development of Eurostar Neo satellites, including EUTELSAT 36D, involves next-generation platform and technologies, supported by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), and the UK Space Agency (UKSA), aimed at increasing payload capacity and enhancing power and thermal control systems.

Airbus' unique capability of delivering geostationary satellites to Kennedy Space Center via the Beluga transport aircraft showcases an autonomous European solution for satellite transport, emphasizing the synergy across Airbus divisions.

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