Thor 7 – In Progress for Launch

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In the not too distant future the Norwegian Telenor Satellite Broadcasting will launch a new satellite in their Thor series of communication satellites at 1o West. Along with existing satellites, the satellite is going to ensure that Telenor is able to meet the growing demand of capacity in the European broadcast and broadband market.


Thor 7 at Space Systems/Loral’s manufacturing facilities based in Palo Alto, California. Credit: Space System/Loral.


Telenor Satellite Broadcasting or TSB, one of the most significant operators of communication satellites in the world, has constantly operated their satellites in their primary orbital location at 1o West. The position enables TSB to transmit broadcasting signals to the whole of Europe. Currently, TSB has their own Thor 5 and 6 in this location. In addition, they own the Spot 1 and 2 payload named THOR 10-02 S1 and S2 in the same location. At 4o W, TSB owns and operates the Thor 4 satellite including service throughout the Middle East.


Preparing the Launcher

Launch of the new satellite will take place in March with an Ariane 5 from Guiana Space Center, Kourou, French Guiana. A few months from launch, the integration of the launcher is close to being finalised at the launch area.

Late November  the build-up of the launcher in the dedicated Launcher Integration Building started. The first step was to put up the cryogenic core stage into place over one of the two mobile launch tables available for the heavy-lift launcher Ariane 5.

The next step in the assembly process, Ariane’s two solid propellant boosters were rolled out for their mating with the core stage – clearing the way to continue integration.  It is the Airbus group which integrates the launcher itself and delivers the Ariane 5 to Arianespace for payload integration, final checkout and launch. However, it is the Norwegian company, Kongsberg, that deliverers the very important connection between the two boosters and the core stage, while Raufoss, also a Norwegian company, that delivers the separation boosters between the same parts.


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Ariane 5 in the assembly phase. First the core stage lifted to vertical position and placed at the mobile launch tablet. The next step is mating the solid boosters to the core stage. Credit Arianespace.

Thor 7 is to ride in Ariane 5’s upper passenger position, with a French/Italian military satellite in the lower position in the SYLDA dispenser system. Six weeks after launch the satellite will be established at the right position, tested and can start the operational life.

More About Thor 7

The spacecraft is to build at Space Systems/Loral’s manufacturing facilities based in Palo Alto, California. The company is responsible for the design, construction and test activities for THOR 7.

THOR 7 is based on SS/L’s 1300 series platform and fitted with two payloads. The first payload includes 11 active Ku band transponders, all of which will be used to serve growing broadcasting requirements within Central and Eastern Europe. It also include further Ku band capability that will be utilised to provide restoration capacity for Telenor’s THOR fleet located at 1°West.

The second is a Ka band payload, fitted with spot beams covering in areas including the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, the Red Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The Ka band payload will address the surge in demand for high bandwidth requirements from the maritime industry and will deliver a bandwidth efficient service with high bit rates to meet customers’ expectations. Equipped with 25 spot beams, THOR 7 carry TSBc’s first Ka-band payload.

Powered by two deployable solar arrays, the system has a projected lifetime of 15 years, but had enough fuel to an extended life of 23 years.

Telenor – one of Europe’s Leading Satellite Operators

Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc) is a major European satellite provider of broadcast and data communication  services for customers in the broadcast, maritime, and oil and gas markets. TSBc owns and operates the THOR satellite fleet, positioned at 1°West, which provides high-powered and high-quality satellite capacity throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. TSBc has also strengthened its position by moving its Thor III satellite to a new orbital location, 4°West, from where it offers inclined-orbit services throughout the Middle East.

With the launch of its latest satellite, THOR 7, which is due to commence commercial service in 2015 , TSBc looks to increase its presence and expanding its regional coverage to support the growth requirements of its broadcast and enterprise customers. TSBc’s headquarters are located in the Telenor Group offices in Fornebu, just outside Oslo. The company is 100% owned by Telenor Broadcast Holding AS, a fully owned holding company of Telenor Group, one of the world’s major mobile operators.

Featured picture: The Thor satellite in space. Credit: Telenor Satellite Broadcasting.