Eutelsat will replace the satellites at the Hot Bird position with two larger all-electric satellites from Airbus Defence and Space.
The new satellites will launch in 2021, according to a Eutelsat earnings presentation. They would provide the same amount of Ku-band capacity as the current three satellites, along with improvement like better resistance to signal jamming. The two greatest cost savers on the new Hotbird satellites are electric propulsion, which makes it possible to replace three existing satellites with only two, and Airbus’ new Eurostar NEO platform.
Rodolphe Belmer, Eutelsat CEO, said the company’s “design to cost” strategy — applied to the new Airbus satellites — has been more fruitful than first expected.
(The picture shows Eutelsat’s current Hotbird configuration of three satellites)