Eutelsat decided to choose Space Systems Loral's all electric propulsion satellite bus to create dominancy on three rising markets.
Eutelsat is still improving their technical abilities, range of services and constellation of satellites. New markets are demanding and competition in new regions also imposes sharp pace. Eutelsat decided to expand on rising market of Africa, Turkey and Middle East. Eutelsat is determined to provide high level of service - after planned for 2018 launch, it will offer 370 channels with range of pay-TV including Turkish Digiturk and three video platforms reaching popularity in Sub-Saharan region of Africa: Azam TV, Montage and Muvi TV. Eutelsat decided to launch satellite especially for these three regions into Eutelsat 7° East orbital slot. Satellite will be copositioned with Eutelsat-7A and Eutelsat-7B. Space Systems Loral was chosen with project of Eutelsat-7C with electric propulsion - it will be fifth satellite in Eutelsat's constellation with implemented technology of electric thrusters as main and additional propulsion. Satellite will be based on SSL-1300 bus with predicted operational life at 15 years. Satellite will be equipped in two deployable solar arrays and onboard lithium-ion batteries to provide enough power for 44 Ku band transponders (SSL-1300 is capable to provide up to 3000 W of power). SSL-1300 is proven and reliable solution - previously it was used in two satellites created by SSL for Eutelsat: Eutelsat-25B (launched on 29 August 2013) and Eutelsat-65 West A (launched on 9 March 2016) both launched by Arianespace on atop of Ariane 5. SSL-1300 in largest version weighs 6700 kg and is launched under 5 m fairing. SSL is one of the most experienced western companies as far as the electric propulsion. Their SSL-1300 was bus of one of the first satellites manufactured in the West which used electric propulsion for reaching orbit (MBSat launched in 2004). Since then SSL manufactured 19 satellites with full electric propulsion and after signing agreement with Busek Co. Inc. on 10 February 2016 it is highly probable that future SSL-1300 satellites will be equipped with new generation, lighter and even more efficient electric propulsion.
On picture above: Sahara as seen from space.