Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar 21, initially due for launch almost a year ago aboard a giant Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and then expected to be orbited just over Christmas (on December 28th), is still awaiting launch. The satellite was expected to enter service last summer.
The S-band satellite was officially obliged to enter service by the end of 2016. Indeed, EchoStar acquired the SES/Eutelsat-owned Solaris Mobile licences in January 2104 to provide a Mobile Satellite Services system over Europe. Now called EchoStar Mobile, the division of EchoStar is based in Dublin, Ireland.
Russia’s TASS news agency says that additional checks are needed on the rocket and its Briz-M booster prior to a launch. No official launch date has been supplied but a mid-January date is likely.
EchoStar-21 was built by Space Systems/Loral.