Satellite Atlantic Bird 3
|Mission duration||17 years (planned)|
|Manufacturer||Thales Alenia Space|
|Launch mass||4050 kg|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||5 July 2002, 23:21 UTC|
|Rocket||Ariane 5 G|
|Launch site||Centre Spatial Guyanais, Kourou|
|Entered service||September 2002|
|Perigee altitude||35,770.8 kilometres (22,226.9 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||35,816.3 kilometres (22,255.2 mi)|
|Band||10 C band and 35 Ku band|
|Coverage area||Americas, Africa, Europe|
Eutelsat 5 West A, formerly Atlantic Bird 3 (or AB 3) is a communications satellite belonging to the operator Eutelsat. Situated at 5° West, it broadcasts satellite television, radio and other digital data. Developed for France Telecom it transferred soon after its launch to the operator Eutelsat. It entered operational service in early September 2002. Its current anticipated working life is 17 years.
Stellat 5, as it was originally known, was built by Alcatel Space on behalf of Stellat, a joint-venture between France Telecom (70%) and Europe*Star (30%), a subsidiary of Alcatel Space and Loral Space and Communications. It was launched 5 July 2002 at UTC by an Ariane 5 G rocket from Centre Spatial Guyanais, Kourou along with the Japanese satellite N-STAR c. It had a launch weight of 4050 kg. Victim of financial difficulties, France Télecom withdrew from space operations. In this move it sold Stellat to Eutelsat in July 2002. Early 21 February, the satellite entered operational service. On the 25, Eutelsat completed the acquisition for a sum of EUR183,900,000 and renamed the satellite Atlantic Bird 3.
AB 3 took on the role covered by the satellites Telecom 1 and Telecom 2C, operational between 1983 and 2002, in the historic French position of 5° longitude West. In March 2012, EUTELSAT re-baptised its satellite fleet, and AB 3 was renamed Eutelsat 5 West A.
Atlantic Bird 3 was assembled by Alcatel Space, later Alcatel Alenia Space, on a Spacebus 3000 3B platform. It was equipped with 35 Ku band repeaters covering Europe, North Africa and the Middle-East as well as 10 C band repeaters. The Ku band repeaters are 94 W. The 12 C band repeaters, 55 W, though only 10 can be simultaneously active.
In France, Atlantic Bird 3 enabled Eutelsat to serve 1.6 million households (of nearly 23 million with televisions) who otherwise did not receive a signal at all, or who received a poor or unreliable signal ("snow", echos, interference, fog, repeated storm damage of mountain transmitters). No other free alternative existed. Transmissions were made in SÉCAM, the standard used in France.
Reception of analogue satellite TV can be achieved with relatively basic equipment:
Terrestrial analogue transmissions ceased in France 29 November 2011 and the analogue satellite service reduced accordingly thereafter.
With the arrival of digital terrestrial television in France, notably 18 or 19 free national channels attributed by the CSA, this satellite was chosen to feed terrestrial transmitters from March 2005. Householders could also use AB 3 to receive French digital TV: Télévision Numérique Terrestre (TNT) :
Hybrid analog / digital demodulators have permitted continued access to free-to-air national channels during the transition. Since the end of 2011 and the termination of analogue broadcasting on Atlantic Bird 3, now requires a subscription to one of the two packages present on the satellite or a Fransat labelled terminal.
The various packages offering bouquets of digital channels are:
In the 2007 bill "the future of television", French senators voted for an article requiring national digital TV broadcasters to make their free-to-air channels available to viewers via at least one satellite distributor or channel editor within a maximum period of three months from the date of enactment of the law confirmed by the vote of Deputies. This law passed through a fixed joint commission of 2 chambers, because the text was amended and adopted permanently. The PS group that had challenged before the Constitutional Council was dismissed on 28 February 2008.
In a report published by the Secretariat of State for Strategic Studies, it was planned to create a 2nd free satellite offer to over 1.5 million households already facing Atlantic Bird 3 without redirecting their existing satellite dish, in addition to the TNTSAT offer managed by the Canal+ Group. Announced on 8 February 2009 by EUTELSAT, this offer designated FRANSAT joined AB 3 in June 2009.
|KC 110.971 GHz V 29950 7/8||KB4 11.609 Ghz V 5969 1/2|
|KB1 11.471 Ghz V 29950 3/4
||KB11 11.634 Ghz H 29950 3/4|
|KC3 11.054 Ghz V 29950 7/8||KB2 11.512 Ghz V 29950 7/8|
|KC9 11.059 Ghz H 23700 3/4||KB3 11.555 Ghz V 29950 7/8|
|KC4 11.096 Ghz V 29950 3/4||KB4 11.591 Ghz V 20000 2/3||KA2 12.564 Ghz V 29950 7/8|