Airbus Defence and Space has announced that Eutelsat 172B — Europe's first all-electric satellite — is ready for shipment from the Airbus satellite assembly facility in Toulouse to Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite, which is scheduled for launch on an Ariane 5 on 25th April, will provide enhanced telecommunications, in-flight broadband and broadcast services for the Asia-Pacific region.
Eutelsat 172B combines electric power of 13 kW with a launch weight of only 3,500kg. Its three distinct payloads: a C-band payload, a regular Ku-band payload and a high throughput Ku-band payload designed for in-flight connectivity along Pacific air corridors. Other features include the flexibility to dynamically distribute power between the 11 elliptical beams in the high throughput payload.
It is the third all-electric satellite to join the Eutelsat constellation, but the first to be built in Europe. The first two, both built by Boeing Space Systems, were Eutelsat 115 West B and 117 West B, launched in March 2015 and June 2016, respectively.
Eutelsat 172B is based on a Eurostar E3000 platform in its latest EOR (Electric Orbit Raising) version.
Deployable robotic arms will be used to orientate the satellite’s electric propulsion thrusters and to control thrust direction and attitude as needed during the different phases of the mission.