Tim Furniss/LONDON

The Eutelsat Hot Bird 2, the world's most powerful civilian communications satellite, built by Matra Marconi Space (MMS), is heading for its operating position at 13¹E in geostationary orbit (GEO). It was launched by an ILS International Launch Services, Atlas 2A from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 21 November.

With a launch weight of 2,900kg, the $200 million Hot Bird 2 is also the largest television satellite built by Europe. Accommodating power levels of up to 6kW, the satellite carries a payload of 20 Ku-band transponders providing services for direct-to-home, cable- head-end and community TV receivers.

The Hot Bird 2 is the first of a series of high-power TV satellites for Eutelsat, the European communications-satellite organisation. The Hot Birds 3, 4 and 5 - all being built by MMS - will be launched in 1997-8 to be co-located at the 13°E position in GEO. MMS also provided the communications payload for the Hot Bird 1, which was built by France's Aerospatiale.

The Hot Bird 2 is the twelfth Eurostar model to be launched and the eighth in the 2000 series, built at Toulouse, France, and in Stevenage, UK (Flight International, 14-20 August, P26). Ten more 2000-series models are under construction and a new 3000-series has been proposed for the MMS East satellite-communications system initiative.

The Hot Bird 2 launch was the ninth by the ILS Atlas 2A model, which is to be used again later this month when it orbits the Inmarsat 3F2 mobile communications satellite, built by Lockheed Martin Astro Space, with MMS as payload provider.

Aerospatiale has delivered the first communications satellite to Nahuelsat of Argentina. The Nahuel 1 is being shipped to Kourou for its January 1997 launch aboard an Ariane 4.

Nahuelsat is a company established by Aerospatiale, Alenia and Daimler-Benz Aerospace. The 1,800kg Nahuel 1 is the last Spacebus 2000 model in the company's order book.

Aerospatiale has built 13 Spacebus models which have been launched: three of the 1000-series; nine of the 2000s; and one new 3000-series model. Ten more 3000-series models are being manufactured (Flight International, 21-27 August, P54).

Source: Flight International