DLR's satellite control center GSOC was awarded a contract by the EUTELSAT organization to perform the positioning of the W satellites.
EUTELSAT's new generation of telecommunications satellites began to take over service from the EUTELSAT II series in 1998/1999. These new satellites operate at orbital positions other than 13 degrees East. They allow for the expansion of telecommunications services as well as supply some television services to other markets than those served from the 13 degrees East HOT BIRD position. The new satellites (ALCATEL spacebus 3000) feature steerable antennas and an extended coverage of the Middle East. They are equipped with 24 transponders of 90 Watts (in comparison to 16 transponders of 50 Watts on the EUTELSAT II generation) and their minimum lifetime will be 12 years.