A fleet of communications satellites
Hot Bird 2 was the first of the Paris-based satellite communications company Eutelsat’s Hot Bird high-power satellite series, one of the largest broadcasting systems in the world, providing analogue and digital television channels together with radio and multimedia services Europe, North Africa and large areas of the Middle East. (Hot Bird 1 is effectively the last of the Eutelsat II series which carries services such as public telephony, business services, satellite news-gathering and television and radio programme exchanges.)
At the time of its launch in November 1996, Hot Bird 2 was the biggest television satellite built in Europe, with capabilities particularly suited to direct-broadcast television. Compared to previous generations of the late 80s, it carried five times the number of repeaters, had double the lifetime, and digital compression techniques allowing the number of channels per repeater to be increased. The similarly-configured Hot Bird 3 was launched in September 1997, and Hot Birds 4 and 5, which have the addition of on-board Skyplex signal processing technology, were launched in February 1998 and October 1998, respectively.
Airbus Defence and Space was prime contractor for the Hot Bird 2–5 satellites, both platform (all based on the E2000+ version of Airbus Defence and Space’s Eurostar series) and all Ku payload.