Hot Bird 13F was transported from Portsmouth to Toulouse last month. It is due to play a key part in major changes to the Eutelsat satellite service used by millions across Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
Final tests on the satellite are being completed in France in preparation for its launch, due this spring.
Manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space, it’s the first orbiter based on the Eurostar Neo platform.
With the new Eurostar Neo platform, the payload capacity can be increased significantly. The communication module can accommodate up to 2 tons of payload and provide a payload of more than 25 kW. Eutelsat Hot Bird 13F and the forthcoming 13G will both have an output of 22 kW and a take-off mass of only 4,500 kg.
According to Eutelsat, the launch of 13F is planned for the second quarter of this year. 13G will follow in early 2022. Both satellites are equipped with 80 Ku-band transponders each.
The two new Hot Bird satellites replace Hot Bird 9, 10 and 13. They have been serving the orbital position 13° East for between 13 and 15 years. Improved reception in Western Europe is promised.
Hot Bird services
Hot Bird at 13° East broadcasts TV and radio services from countries including France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Switzerland and Wallonia (the French-speaking part of Belgium). It is also a key distribution point for international channels, which use Hot Bird to feed cable, terrestrial and IPTV networks. The BBC uses Hot Bird to distribute different feeds of the BBC World Service across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Airbus’ Eurostar Neo platform was developed as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) partnership with the French space agency CNES. It is also supported by the UK Space Agency and other agencies across Europe.