French satellite operator Eutelsat has decommissioned its EUTELSAT 5 West A satellite.

It brings an end to over 20 years of the satellite being in operation, with the satellite successfully retired into a graveyard orbit.

– Getty Images

The company confirmed the retirement of what it labeled as the "disruptive" EUTELSAT 5 West A satellite, with the satellite successfully re-orbited as planned to more than 400km above the geostationary arc.

Eutelsat said it switched off the telemetry transmitter of the satellite on January 13 from the Issy-les-Moulineaux Satellite Control Centre at 4:57 am (ET).

The EUTELSAT 5 West A satellite was based on a Spacebus 3000B3 platform which was manufactured by the then Alcatel Alenia Space (now Thales Alenia Space) and was originally built on behalf of Stellat.

Not long after the satellite's launch in July 2002, Eutelsat bought the satellite and renamed it Atlantic Bird-3, with it operating from the 5° West orbital position where it remained for its entire operational life.

Only a decade later in 2012 was it given the name EUTELSAT 5 West A, with the satellite operating in an inclined orbit since the end of 2019. This helped to extend the lifetime of the satellite, said Eutelsat.

The transfer of services to the new EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite plus other Eutelsat satellites started in 2020, while the EUTELSAT 5 West A remained in operation up until its decommissioning, mainly providing maritime connectivity.

Eutelsat Chief Executive Officer Eva Berneke commented: “The impressive extended lifespan of EUTELSAT 5 West A showcases the first-rate satellite control expertise of the Eutelsat teams. The satellite provided an overall service availability of 99.999 percent, a figure that stands as a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the Eutelsat teams who have worked together throughout the years on this mission.”

Get a weekly roundup of EMEA news, direct to your inbox.