T…L…COM 2C MOVING TO 5 DEGREES WEST
France Telecom is changing one of its satellite slots, with Télécom 2C leaving its orbital slot at 3 degrees East, on which the satellite has been positioned since its launch in December 1995. The bird’s new target is 5 degrees West, the home of its older sister satellite Télécom 2B.
Like all members of the Télécom satellite fleet, Télécom 2B, which was launched in April 1992, has a prospective lifetime of 10 years. At the end of its life span in April 2002, Télécom 2B will be replaced by the new Stellat satellite, which was ordered from Alcatel Space Industries this autumn.
However, as the satellite already suffers from technical exhaustion, it will be replaced earlier. It is planned that its DTH and cable head-end TV and radio programmes and other services will be taken over by Télécom 2C on 5 degrees West. To extend its lifetime, it is likely that Télécom 2B will then be placed into inclined orbit and used for occasional traffic and military communications.