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  • Writer's picturePrabhjot Singh Maan

SpaceX launches the Hotbird 13G for Eutelsat!

Using a Falcon 9 rocket with a track record for successful flight, SpaceX launched Eutelsat's Hotbird-13G communications satellite for its 51st launch of 2022 into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station served as the launch pad for the Falcon 9. (CCSFS).

According to SpaceX, liftoff on November 3 was postponed to the end of the 116-minute window at 1:22 AM EDT (05:22 UTC) in order to finish pre-flight checkouts.

In addition to the recently launched Hotbird-13F satellite and the next Eutelsat-10B mission, Hotbird-13G is the second of three SpaceX flights for Eutelsat scheduled for 2022. The fourth overall mission for Eutelsat by SpaceX is Hotbird-13G.

Aside from the Eutelsat Konnect VHTS satellite launched on Ariane 5 in September, Eutelsat's Hotbird-13G is the third of four satellites the company will launch in 2022. Leading broadband communications satellite operator Eutelsat now has satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO) and will soon have them in low Earth orbit (LEO).

Europe established the business in 1977 as the industry's pioneer for satellite communications services. In 1983, the business launched the Eutelsat I-F1 using an Ariane 1 rocket as part of a partnership with ESA. The Eutelsat I satellite fleet was finished in 1988 after three successful Ariane 3 launches.

Two years later, the Eutelsat II started to launch, and its final launch was successful in 1992. The sixth Eutelsat II satellite in the fleet was transformed into the first Hotbird satellite by Eutelsat. In contrast to the other Eutelsat satellites, Hotbird has been upgraded to carry out direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting.

Since then, Eutelsat has sent a lot more satellites into orbit, increasing its global coverage. Prior launches of Eutelsat satellites used Proton, Atlas, Delta, Ariane, Falcon, Chang Zhang, Ariane, and Zenit rockets. Both Eutelsat and the Asian satellite provider ABS launched two satellites in 2015 and 2016, respectively, marking the first and second Falcon 9 rocket launches.

A contract for three flights, including Hotbird-13F, 13G, and Eutelsat-10B, was signed with SpaceX. Hotbird-13G is the second of those missions. These satellites were scheduled to be launched in 2021 and 2022 using the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launch vehicles.

However, as the first Ariane 6 flight is now scheduled for Q4 2023, Eutelsat was forced to switch the satellites' launch vehicle to Falcon 9. The Hera and Euclid missions, which were both slated to launch on Ariane 6 or Soyuz rockets, were also affected by this action by ESA.

With some of its satellites in the last few years, Eutelsat—a significant satellite operator—marked numerous firsts. The Airbus Eurostar-3000 series satellite bus, which is extremely dependable and is utilzed by several providers and future Eutelsat satellites, was initially implemented on the Eutelsat W3A satellite.

In partnership with ESA and Airbus, the Eutelsat Quantum satellite is an experimental satellite with a reconfigurable software payload. This satellite will test how a satellite can change its capabilities while in orbit with only software.

Eutelsat’s first launch in 2022 was the Konnect VHTS satellite, using the newly introduced Spacebus-NEO with the most powerful onboard digital processor in orbit. The most recent launch for the company was the Hotbird-13F satellite on a flight-proven Falcon 9 (B1069-3) on Oct. 15.

Hotbird-13F and 13G are two nearly identical satellites built by Airbus using the brand-new all-electric Eurostar-NEO satellite bus. Eutelsat ordered the two satellites in late 2018 as the first customer of the Eurostar-NEO bus. The bus originated from the Eurostar-3000 Electric Orbit Raising (EOR) as a more evolved version.

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Edited By: Prabhjot Singh Maan ( LinkedIn ).
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