Eutelsat fires up Hotbird 9

February 18, 2009 | 07:38 UK

Eutelsat announced the full entry into commercial service of its Hot Bird 9 satellite at 13 degrees East. Built by EADS Astrium and launched on December 20, 2008 by Arianespace, the new high-capacity broadcast satellite has a projected in-orbit life of more than 15 years.

The smooth transfer of television and radio channels onto the satellite was completed on Tuesday at 4am GMT by Eutelsat’s control centre, working in close collaboration with broadcast clients and providers of uplink services.

Hot Bird 9 is now copositioned with Hot Bird 6 and Hot Bird 8. The new satellite has a payload of up to 64 Ku-band transponders and is the second in Eutelsat’s new generation of Hot Bird broadcast satellites, following number 8 which was launched in 2006. The 13 degrees East neighbourhood today broadcasts almost 1,100 television channels and 600 radio stations to an audience of more than 120 million homes in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Hot Bird 7A can now be redeployed to 9 degrees East. Rebranded Eurobird 9A, the satellite will assume all broadcasts currently carried by the 20 transponders on Eurobird 9. The formner Hit Bird 7A will add 18 additional transponders at the 9 degrees East neighbourhood, which has seen the number of channels more than double in one year to almost 150. Released from this position, Eurobird 9 will continue its useful life in orbit at another location.