Kourou, Paris – Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) announced that its EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite was successfully launched into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket. Partial deployment of the solar panels of the 5.8 tonne satellite was completed within four hours of separation. This manoeuvre will be followed in the coming five days by three firings of the satellite’s apogee motor to complete the climb to geostationary orbit, as well as full deployment of the solar panels and the antennas. After a full series of performance tests EUTELSAT 8 West B will transfer to 7/8° West where it will enter full commercial service in early October.

Speaking from Kourou, Emmanuel Macron, French Minister for Economic, Industrial and Digital Affairs, said:”This new success is the finest demonstration of the excellence of French and European space industry: this is the 38th satellite to join the fleet of Eutelsat, the French champion and Europe’s leading satellite operator. Built by Thales Alenia Space, it marks a new launch success of an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana.”

Also speaking from Kourou, Michel Azibert, Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial & Development Officer of Eutelsat, said: The launch of EUTELSAT 8 West B opens a new chapter in the growth story of the leading neighbourhood in the Middle East and North Africa occupied by Eutelsat and Nilesat satellites. Through steady investment in high-performance satellites and the fastest growing audience in the region we have gained the trust of market-leading media groups and service providers who look to 7/8° West to accelerate their growth. EUTELSAT 8 West B equips us to meet demand to broadcast more digital and High Definition content to over 250 million viewers and gives us more coverage options, enabling broadcasters to target their audience. These features underpin the 100% success in sales of capacity connected to footprints serving a vast region stretching from Morocco to the Gulf.”

Michel Azibert added: “As the 30th satellite launched for Eutelsat by Arianespace and the 25th built by Thales Alenia Space, EUTELSAT 8 West B also further cements our relationships with leading European space companies. During more than 30 years of collaboration we have collectively raised the bar of performance in space and continue to set new standards.”