HOTBIRD, High powered communications

High powered communications

  • HOTBIRD 9 scheduled for launch late 2008
  • HOTBIRD 10 scheduled for launch in 2009
The HOTBIRDs are a series of satellites providing high powered broadcast communications. They are operated by the telecoms and satellite communications provider Eutelsat. The latest additions to the fleet, HOTBIRDS 9 and 10, are twin spacecraft being built by Astrium Limited.

HOTBIRD 9 will broadcast digital and new HDTV (high definition television) channels to small antennas on people’s houses as well as to cable and community networks in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. In 2009, 110 million cable and satellite homes in this region will also receive 590 television channels and 540 radio stations via HOTBIRD 10.

Mission facts

  • The satellites have two 2.4 m deployable antennas and one fixed 1.5 m antenna.

  • The later satellites in the HOTBIRD family each have an expected life span of around 15 years.


A domestic antenna of less than 70 cm diameter can receive a ‘superbeam’ direct-to-home transmission from the satellites.

HOTBIRD 9 and 10 will carry up to 64 transponders in Ku-band – microwave frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. These frequencies are used to broadcast TV channels and information because satellites like HOTBIRD 9 and 10 can transmit high powered, focused beams allowing satellite receiving dishes to be much smaller.

UK involvement

Astrium Limited will design and build both the spacecraft platform and the communications payloads for HOTBIRD 10 – its fifteenth satellite commission for Eutelsat.

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