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Eutelsat Taps Airbus For Two Satellites Covering Europe, North Africa, And Middle East

Artist’s view of the HOTBIRD satellites. Image courtesy of Toys Films/Eutelsat, 2018.

Eutelsat has ordered two new satellites from Airbus Defence and Space to replace the three existing HOTBIRD satellites at its 13° East flagship neighbourhood. These all-electric high-power satellites are set to enter into service in 2022, serving Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The new satellites will reinforce and enhance the high quality of broadcasting services provided to Eutelsat customers on HOTBIRD, providing improved performances over Western Europe and Poland. Moreover, the satellites will offer advanced features in terms of uplink signal protection and resilience, as well as exceptional in-orbit redundancy.

With a launch mass of 4.5 tonnes and an electric power of 22 kW, the all-electric propulsion satellites will be based on Airbus Defence and Space’s innovative Eurostar Neo platform which will be produced, along with their high-performance payloads, in their UK facilities in Stevenage and Portsmouth as well as in their French facility in Toulouse.

This state-of-the-art technology enables Eutelsat to replace the current constellation of three satellites by two, further enhancing the capex optimization achieved through the application of the design-to-cost policy.

This procurement is fully covered by the company’s existing capex budget.

Rodolphe Belmer, Chief Executive Officer of Eutelsat, said, “We are delighted to have secured replacement capacity for our flagship HOTBIRD neighbourhood at 13° East, which has played a part in developing TV broadcasting formats since its creation and is a cornerstone of our video strategy.These new satellites have been specifically designed to enhance the service we offer to our customers at this key neighbourhood, while representing the optimum solution in terms of capex efficiency. We are once again entrusting this project to our long-standing partner Airbus Defence and Space who have already delivered 23 satellites for our group.”

With almost 1,000 television channels, including more than 340 in High Definition (HD), broadcast to more than 135 million homes, HOTBIRD has been Eutelsat’s leading neighbourhood for over 20 years, serving Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. This benchmark satellite broadcasting hub also hosts 10 premium TV platforms and transmits more than 600 pay-TV channels and around 400 free-to-air channels.

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