The 2.2-tonne all-electric satellite built by Boeing was lofted into orbit on March 1 at 03.50 UTC. It separated from the Falcon 9 launcher after a 35-minute flight, with telemetry subsequently received and processed at Boeing’s mission control centre in El Segundo, California.
“We are delighted to see Eutelsat 115 West B on its way into space and thank SpaceX for this successful launch,” said Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat Chairman and CEO, speaking from Cape Canaveral.
“With this satellite we are trailblazing a new era of electric propulsion for orbit raising that opens opportunities for greater efficiency and higher competitivity. It’s another first in Eutelsat’s 30-year track record of innovation that propels our industry onto the next stage.”
Patricio Northland, CEO of Eutelsat Americas, also commented from the launch site: “The Eutelsat 115 West B satellite will transform the service we can offer clients delivering data services that include broadband, cellular backhaul, VSAT solutions and social connectivity. In addition to delivering high-performance C and Ku-band capacity, our footprint will extend beyond Latin American markets into Canada and Alaska. Tonight’s launch reaffirms us more than ever as the satellite company of reference for the Americas.”
Over the coming three days Eutelsat 115 West B’s electric propulsion system will be prepared for orbit-raising that is scheduled to commence on 7 March and last for approximately eight months. Following this timeline, the satellite will undergo performance tests prior to commercial entry into service in November 2015.
The satellite will be followed into orbit later this year by the all-electric Eutelsat 117 West B satellite that will be located at 117° West to boost capacity for Latin America broadcast markets. The third pillar in Eutelsat’s expansion in the Americas will be Eutelsat 65 West A that is scheduled for launch in 2016 in advance of the Olympic Games in Brazil. It will feature high-power coverage of Brazil and Latin America in C, Ku and Ka-bands.