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Eutelsat craft to launch with ‘Space Tug’

Eutelsat is ordering a new satellite from Airbus (payload) and Orbital ATK (platform) for its 5 degrees West orbital slot. This satellite will expand the capacity already available from the orbital slot.

Importantly, Eutelsat 5 West A will be launched with a ‘space tug’ Mission Extension Vehicle, (MEV-1) being built by Orbital ATK.  By launching with MEV-1, Eutelsat says it will save overall costs on the launch.

The launch date is currently 2018 (on a Proton rocket). Eutelsat says: “Eutelsat 5 West A satellite, a key digital infrastructure addressing predominantly French, Italian and Algerian broadcast markets. E-5 West B will provide business continuity and improved quality for these services via a Ku-band payload of 35 equivalent 36 MHz transponders connected to three service areas. Switchable transponders will also increase commercial flexibility.”

The new satellite will not be carrying a C-band payload. Eutelsat says “Service continuity will be provided by similar C-band capacity available on other Eutelsat resources, thereby optimising capacity utilisation rate across the group’s fleet.”

The MEV-1 spacecraft is a first for the industry and will provide an in-orbit servicing and repair vehicle for orbiting satellites. Orbital ATK has already formally secured Intelsat as an in-orbit client once the MEV-1 is in space.

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