Hot Bird 9 switched on

Eutelsatís Hot Bird 9 craft, pictured, left, has been commercialised at 13 deg East.

Eutelsatís Hot Bird 9, launched just before Christmas, has entered commercial service. It went live at 4am GMT time on Feb 17. The new satellite will work alongside HB6 and HB8, and replace HB7A.

Hot Bird 7A will move to 9 deg East and will be re-branded as Eurobird 9A where it will take over the work currently being done by Eurobird 9 (20-transponders worth) and add an additional 18 much-needed transponders to the 9 deg East slot.

Eurobird 9 will continue its orbital mission at ďanother locationĒ says Eutelsat, somewhat enigmatically.

Hot Bird 9 has a payload of up to 64 Ku-band transponders and is the second in Eutelsat's new generation of HB craft, and follows HB8 which was launched in 2006. These high-capacity spacecraft have the dual mission of renewing Eutelsat's resource at its premium video neighbourhood at 13 degrees East and boosting Eutelsatís overall back-up capacity.

Eutelsat also has a very strong order book of new (and replacement) satellites for its manifest. Including Hot Bird 10 launched last week and still undergoing in-orbit testing, it has 6 craft on order including an anticipated order for Atlantic Bird 4R. AB-4R is the proposed craft to replace the lost W2M (which failed in January following its Dec 20 launch).