SpaceX Sends Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13G En Route to Orbit After Year-Long Wait
After being delayed a full year due to pandemic-related slowdowns beyond its control, European operator Eutelsat has finally sent its long-awaited Hotbird 13G satellite into space. Hotbird 13G rode on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1.22 a.m. Eastern time on November 3. It is now on its way to a transfer orbit, where it will eventually transition to its intended orbital slat at 13 degrees East.
Originally scheduled to launch in the second half of 2021, Hotbird 13G is the second of two satellites that Airbus Defense and Space built for Eutelsat to replace older satellites at its flagship 13 degree East position. The satellite will join its twin, Hotbird 13F, which was launched earlier this month, to supply broadcast services to more than a thousand television channels into homes across Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East.
Hotbird 13G also hosts the European Union Agency for the Space Program’s (EUSPA) EGNOS GEO-4 payload. EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, acts as an augmentation service to global positioning systems, aiming to improve the reliability of positioning information. Eutelsat already operates the EGNOS GEO-3 payload on its Eutelsat 5 West B satellite.
“We also look forward to completing the GNSS network for our European Union long term customer and partner, the EUSPA,” said Eutelsat CEO Eva Berneke. “My congratulations to the Eutelsat, Airbus and SpaceX teams for another successful launch into Geostationary Orbit.”