The first Eurostar Neo satellite built under ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project has completed its electric orbit raising to reach its geostationary position some 36 000 kilometres above Earth.

The satellite – called Eutelsat Hotbird 13F – was developed and built by satellite manufacturer Airbus for satellite operator Eutelsat. It is one of a pair of satellites, replacing the three current Hotbird satellites, that will reinforce and enhance the broadcast of more than a thousand television channels into homes across Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East.

The satellite was launched into geostationary transfer orbit in October 2022 and has since spent five months climbing into its geostationary position using electric propulsion to raise its orbit.

Electric propulsion thrusters are highly efficient and use much less fuel than their chemical counterparts, enabling much larger payloads to be delivered into geostationary orbit using the same launcher.

ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project comprises both Spacebus Neo by Thales Alenia Space and Eurostar Neo by Airbus. It includes development up to in-orbit validation of new satellite product lines for both companies, allowing the European space industry to deliver competitive satellites for the global commercial satellite market.

Sixteen Neosat satellites have been ordered so far, demonstrating the major economic impact that ESA’s Partnership Projects have for the European space industry and for the benefit of Europe’s citizens.

Neosat is part of ESA’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) and is based on cooperation between ESA and the French space agency, CNES, with support from national agencies including the UK Space Agency.