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EchoStar’s latest satellite (XXI) has arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and is being prepared for launch on December 22nd. The launch will take place on a Proton/Briz-M rocket, managed by International Launch Services.
Built by Space Systems Loral (SSL), the satellite weighs over 6,900 kg (~15,212 lbs) and features a giant unfurlable ‘umbrella’ reflector to provide the high performance levels required for mobile services.
EchoStar XXI is a state-of-the-art S-band satellite owned and operated by EchoStar, will be positioned at the 10.25° East orbital slot. EchoStar Mobile, through an agreement with EchoStar, will utilise a portion of EchoStar XXI’s capacity to provide mobile satellite services (MSS) capacity throughout Europe, including the European Union. EchoStar Mobile is an EU-wide licensee for an integrated mobile satellite service network with a complementary ground component.
The frequencies were acquired by EchoStar from the former Solaris Mobile satellite joint-venture owned by SES of Luxembourg and Eutelsat of France.
Solaris Mobile was formed in 2008. The European Commission selected two companies to operate services. Solaris was one, and Inmarsat the other. However, the giant reflector aboard Eutelsat’s W2A (launched in 2009) failed to correctly deploy which led to restrictions on the quality of S-band service and coverage that could be supplied.
In January 2014 EchoStar bought Solaris Mobile and renamed the business EchoStar Mobile in March 2015.
“EchoStar XXI is the latest step in the expansion of our satellite fleet,” said Anders Johnson, executive director of EchoStar Mobile and president of EchoStar Satellite Services. “The satellite will deliver capacity to EchoStar Mobile to provide commercial wholesalers with a new, advanced network for reliable, IP-based MSS voice and narrowband data services in Europe.”