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Falcon 9 Dual Launch Lofts Two All-Electric Satellites

By Caleb Henry | March 2, 2015
      SpaceX Falcon 9

      SpaceX’s 16th Falcon 9 mission carrying satellites for Eutelsat and ABs/ Photo: SpaceX

      [Via Satellite 03-02-2015] At 10:50 p.m. EST March 1, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the ABS 3A satellite for Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) and the Eutelsat 115 West B satellite for Eutelsat. The two Boeing-built, all-electric spacecraft launched as a conjoined stack, mark the first part of a four satellite, two launch, multi-party agreement ABS and Eutelsat negotiated with Boeing and SpaceX.

      On March 7, Eutelsat 115 West B will begin eight months of orbit raising to reach its destination, bringing new capacity to Latin America, Canada and Alaska. The satellite expands the reach of Eutelsat Americas, formerly Satmex, into North America, and carries a Ku-band hosted payload for Hunter Communications. Eutelsat has two more satellites, Eutelsat 117 West B planned for launch this year, and Eutelsat 65 West A in 2016, which will both boost capacity in Latin America.

      ABS 3A carries 48 by 72 MHz C- and Ku-band transponders for capacity to connect Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa at 3 degrees west. The satellite will also take several months to complete its orbit raising. ABS’s next satellite, the all-electric ABS 2A is schedule to launch in the fourth quarter of 2015.

      Both satellites have since sent their initial signals following the launch. The mission was the 16th launch of the Falcon 9. SpaceX’s next launch is in approximately three weeks time from Cape Canaveral, Fla.