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Satellites are increasingly being built with electric thrusters in order to save the large amounts of propellant needed to get to orbit. The downside is that the satellite then takes months instead of weeks to get to its final orbit. The satellite is thus less heavy at launch, and is less-expensive.
However, ABS-3A, built by Boeing, and the world’s first commercial all-electric craft, has arrived on orbit “early” and is now operating for clients.
ABS, in a statement September 10th, said ABS-3A arrived one month earlier than originally anticipated.
This could also be good news for its satellite co-passenger on its launch back in March. Eutelsat 115 West B was the co-passenger on the March launch by SpaceX. It is expected to arrive at its orbital position later this month and enter service in October.