International Launch Services (ILS), the Russian-backed system that launches satellites from Kazakhstan, says it has received a launch order from EchoStar to place a massive satellite into orbit. The unspecified craft weighs some 6,900 kgs, which places it amongst the heaviest communications satellites ever launched. The satellite will be due for launch during the winter of 2015-16.
Industry observers reckon the satellite is probably TerreStar-2, the sister satellite to TerreStar-1 which Arianespace launched in 2009 and weighed in at 6,910 kgs.
EchoStar is thought to be building and launching the satellite to help roll out Dish Network’s hybrid satellite-terrestrial wireless network.