Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F ready for launch
October 12, 2022
By Chris Forrester
Eutelsat’s Hotbird series of satellites have been a remarkable industry success. The first Hotbird was launched back in March 1995 to the 13 degrees East orbital slot. On October 13th SpaceX is planning to loft 13F at 11.25pm Florida time.
Hotbird 13F, an all-electric satellite, is one of a pair and is the first craft based on Airbus’ all-new Eurostar Neo design – which promises bandwidth improvements over earlier generations in payload capacity, power efficiency, and thermal control systems for video broadcast services.
Hotbird 13F, and its Hotbird 13G twin due to launch later this year, are also designed to have increased ability to handle signal jamming over Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Eutelsat last week suffered deliberate signal jamming from within Iran, and could well use the enhanced protection from jamming that these two satellites offer.
13F (and 13G) have had a complex history even ahead of launch. Initially it was expected that Arianespace would launch 13F and influenced by the European Space Agency’s participation in the design and funding on the Eurostar Neo concept. But delays to Ariane 6 and its availability forced Eutelsat to switch to SpaceX.
A decision on the launch provider for 13G has yet to be determined.
Weather for the 13F launch look 90 per cent favourable.