e-BIRD, the first satellite built by Boeing [NYSE:BA] for Eutelsat, S.A. of France, was successfully launched to geosynchronous transfer orbit today from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America. e-BIRD, a Boeing 376HP model satellite, was built by Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) in El Segundo, Calif.
The launch occurred at 4:02 p.m. PDT (23:02 GMT) with spacecraft separation from the launch vehicle occurring approximately 35 minutes afterward. Approximately 32 minutes later, e-BIRD's first signals were received at a Telemetry, Tracking and Control Station at Hartebeesthoek, South Africa, confirming normal operation.
"Forty years ago, Boeing started a communications revolution with the launch of Syncom, the world's first geosynchronous communications satellite," said Dave Ryan, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International. " e-BIRD is the latest in that long line of reliable Boeing spin-stabilized spacecraft. A thorough check-out on orbit lies ahead for the satellite, and we are confident that e-BIRD will soon take its place as a vital long-term asset supporting Eutelsat's future growth."
Destined for the 33 degrees East orbital slot, the all-Ku-band satellite is the first spacecraft optimized for two-way broadband Internet connectivity for users across a broad region of Europe and Turkey. The satellite carries 20 active transponders and is designed to generate a minimum of 1,600 watts of power through the end of its 10-year service life.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $25 billion business that provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.