Eutelsat has long struggled with the somewhat complicated names given to its fleet. From March 1 next year, it will adopt a new naming system whereby the satellite’s orbit location determines the name of the craft. Out will go the confusing Eurobird, Atlantic Bird, Sesat and W-series names.
For example, its Atlantic Bird 2 satellite, which orbits from 8 degrees West, will become Eutelsat 8 West A. Any future satellite at this location will be designated ‘B’. The current trip of Hot Bird satellites in use (HB6, HB 8 and HB9) will retain their Hot Bird names but be formally named Eutelsat Hot Bird 13A, 13B and 13C.
In 1995, it carried out a similar exercise when the initial flight of the then new Hot Bird series was originally dubbed Eutelsat 2F1 at launch. Since then, however, the fleet has grown and expanded and the naming systems have become ever more complicated, especially given that many of the satellites are subsequently relocated to other orbital positions during their working lives.
W3A becomes Eutelsat 7A
W3C becomes Eutelsat 16A
Eurobird 16 becomes Eutelsat 16B
Sesat 1 becomes Eutelsat 16C