Hotbird 8 prepares for launch

July 30, 2006

Eutelsat’s Hotbird 8 broadcast satellite is undergoing final preparations in Baikonur for an ILS Proton Breeze M launch scheduled for August 4 at 21:48 UTC, 22:48 British Summer Time, 03:48 August 5 in Baikonur.

Based on EADS Space’s Eurostar E3000, Hotbird 8 has a capacity almost three times that of the previous-generation HOT BIRD satellites. It will operate with a payload power in excess of 11 kW, which makes it the most powerful satellite ever built in Europe.

Equipped with a two-level communications module, an all-chemical propulsion system and lithium-ion batteries, it will have a launch weight of almost 5 metric tons. The solar panels, spanning 39 metres once unfolded in orbit, will provide more than 14 kW of electric power. HOT BIRD 8 is designed to have a 15-year service life in orbit.

With 64 transponders that can be operated simultaneously, of which 58 transponders will operate at full power for most of the satellite’s lifetime, HOT BIRD 8 is the largest satellite yet ordered by Eutelsat. It will join the company’s constellation of HOT BIRD broadcasting satellites at 13 degrees East that provide 950 television channels, 600 radio stations and interactive services to 110 million cable and satellite homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

HOT BIRD 8’s mission is to replace existing HOT BIRD capacity and to join HOT BIRD 7A in bringing in-orbit sparing to a level where 13 degrees East can maintain its reputation as one of the most secure multi-satellite video neighbourhoods. The satellite has been designed to cover all 102 Ku-band transponders/frequencies at 13 degrees East which means that it can substitute any transponder on the other HOT BIRD satellites.

To date 43 Eurostar satellites have been ordered, 29 of which have already been successfully launched. Six Eurostar E3000s are currently operating in orbit, while nine more are in production.

Image Copyright EADS SPACE 


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