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    The early years

    Eutelsat is born out of an ambition to build a European industry in the manufacture, launch and operation of satellites.

    The organisation first took shape in 1977 to operate the first generation of communications satellites ordered by the European Space Agency (ESA).



    Satellites launched
    • 1977

      Creation of Eutelsat

      The creation of Eutelsat international organisation marks the beginning of Europe’s satellite communications services industry.

    • 1983

      Beginning of the satellite television business

      The first satellite, EUTELSAT I-F1, was launched in 1983.

      This was the beginning of the satellite television business with the first transmission of a satellite TV signal on a commercial European satellite.

      The first analogue channels quickly took advantage of this new opportunity to broadcast to consumers equipped with first-generation reception equipment.


      Beginning of the satellite television business
    • 1988

      EUTELSAT I satellite fleet

      Three further satellites launched in this initial series, the final one in 1988.


      EUTELSAT I satellite fleet
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    Growing up

    After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Eutelsat's original scope was transformed.

    The organisation’s membership expanded eastwards from the early 1990s to include all Eastern European countries.

    New satellites delivering higher capacity and wider geographic reach were launched during this period.

    The satellite TV market rapidly expanded, pioneering the transition to digital in the middle of the decade which set the scene for the launch of multi-channel pay-TV platforms across Europe.

    Satellites launched
    • 1994


      First transmissions using the DVB-S standard.

    • 1995

      Launch of HOTBIRD 1

      Eutelsat successfully developed the HOTBIRD constellation of high-power satellites at 13° East, enabling hundreds of television channels to be broadcast to millions of homes via cable networks and Direct-to-Home antennas.

      Development of earth-brightness-temperature model to estimate uplink performance.

      Launch by Viacom of the first commercial TV platform in DVB-MPEG.


      Launch of HOTBIRD 1
    • 1996

      Development of DiSEqC

      DiSEqC standard developed as a communication bus between satellite receivers and peripheral equipment using existing coaxial cables.

      DiSEqC logo

    • 1997

      Facilitating dual-feed reception

      Monoblock LNBs were developed for dual-feed reception.

      1995 to 1997 also saw the development and standardisation of the DVB-IP standard

    • 2000

      Europe’s first consumer internet service via satellite

      Launch of the first satellite with electrical propulsion for station-keeping (EUTELSAT 16C)

      Maiden Atlas III rocket takes EUTELSAT 36A into space.

      Launch of Europe’s first consumer internet service using satellite for downloads.

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    Going global and going public

    With the liberalisation of the telecoms sector, Eutelsat transformed into a private company in July 2001 and went public in 2005. Eutelsat’s activities diversified rapidly in the 2000s to include internet and government services.

    The broadcast business continued its expansion with the HOTBIRD concept of broadcast satellites replicated at other positions to address markets in Russia, the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

    Geographic reach continued to expand across Africa, Asia and the Americas. By the end of the decade, offices had been opened in key European centres as well as Asia and the Americas. Teleports in France and Italy were also built up to provide broadcast and broadband services.

    Satellites launched
    • 2002

      First satellite with digital onboard multiplexing

      HOTBIRD 13A, the first satellite with digital onboard multiplexing (Skyplex) and switching between Ku and Ka-bands goes into space on the maiden Atlas V flight.

      Inaugural Delta 4 rocket orbits EUTELSAT 70A.


      First satellite with digital onboard multiplexing
    • 2003

      Frequency reuse

      EUTELSAT 33A satellite launched with four regional Ku-band beams for high frequency reuse.


      Frequency reuse
    • 2004

      Europe’s first HDTV demo channel in MPEG-2 DVB-S

      Launch of first satellite with Lithium-Ion batteries (EUTELSAT 7A).

      Launch on HOTBIRD of Europe’s first demonstration HDTV channel in MPEG-2 DVB-S.

    • 2006


      Between 2006 and 2008, the DVB-SH standard for Direct Satellite Mobile Broadcasting was developed.

    • 2009

      Launch of FRANSAT

      EUTELSAT 36B satellite carries first on-board multiplexing capability to increase uplink service area.

      Launch of FRANSAT, a service operated on Eutelsat’s ATLANTIC BIRD 3 satellite giving satellite access in metropolitan France to all French free DTT channels

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    Market leadership and an exciting future

    Today, Eutelsat is one of the most innovative operators in the commercial satellite business. With the acquisition of Satmex in January 2014, our Group now offers capacity on 37 satellites that provide premium coverage of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

    Our support team of over 1,000 industry professionals from 46 countries are located at offices and teleports around the world, ensuring we are close to our clients to deliver the highest quality of service.

    Our continued growth is the consequence of a strategy focused on three key pillars: consolidating our leadership position in Europe and expanding our presence across the globe; targeting the development of digital services in the video market as well as in data and connectivity markets; and investing and innovating to renew our fleet of satellites and develop new applications and services.

    From modest beginnings 40 years ago, Eutelsat sits at the heart of a global satellite industry and vibrant digital economy.

    Satellites launched
    • 2010

      Europe’s first High Throughput Satellite

      KA-SAT, Europe’s first High Throughput Satellite, the highest capacity commercial satellite ever built, goes into space.


      Europe’s first High Throughput Satellite
    • 2011

      Quality assurance of satellite transmissions

      Carrier ID initiated for quality assurance of DVB satellite transmissions.

    • 2012

      Improving signal integrity

      EUTELSAT 8 West B - the first satellite ordered with improved signal integrity, optimised use of electrical power and frequency agile command receivers.

      FRANSAT (Eutelsat’s French DTT platform via satellite) launches an integrated satellite receiver and DTT module in flat-screen displays.


      Improving signal integrity
    • 2013

      SmartLNB and Ultra HD

      Eutelsat’s SmartLNB for Direct-to-Home antenna opens the door for broadcasters to operate linear television and connected TV services directly by satellite.

      Eutelsat launches first demonstration Ultra HD channel.

    • 2014

      Europe's first Ultra HD demo channel in HEVC

      Eutelsat steps up Ultra HD activity launching Europe’s first demo channel encoded in HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), broadcasting at 50 fps with 10-bit colour depth (one billion colours – HEVC Main 10 profile).

    • 2015

      First of a new generation of software-controlled satellites

      World-first all-electric satellite, EUTELSAT 115 West B, enters service in late 2015.

      Eutelsat QUANTUM contract signed - the first of a new generation of software-controlled satellite, developed through a PPP with ESA and Airbus Defence and Space.

      First of a new generation of software-controlled satellites
    • 2016

      Enhanced viewing solutions

      Eutelsat launches SmartBeam, the satellite solution for multiscreen TV delivery to smartphones and tablets.

      Launch of Sat.tv smart EPG for HOTBIRD viewers.

    • 2017

      New HTS payload for Asia Pacific

      EUTELSAT 172B satellite goes live at 172° East, embarking a new HTS payload for in-flight connectivity for users in a vast region stretching from the West coast of the Americas to Asia, Oceania and across the Pacific.

      New HTS payload for Asia Pacific
    • 2018

      New-generation VHTS ordered for Europe

      Order of KONNECT VHTS, a new-generation satellite, aimed at serving high-speed internet, in-flight connectivity and government markets with fibre-like services from 2021 onwards in Europe and the Mediterranean region.

    • 2019

      LEO satellite fleet for IoT

      Eutelsat orders four nanosatellites to kick off its ELO constellation of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites dedicated to the Internet of Things.