According to Russia’s InterFax news agency, the much-delayed launch of EchoStar’s E-21 satellite has again been postponed, probably to January 31st.
The launch was originally scheduled to take place from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in mid-December, but was then delayed so that further tests could be carried out on the giant Proton/BrizM rocket. A new date (of December 28th) was expected to be fulfilled, but again postponed.
This latest delay is for “non-technical” reasons, according to InterFax. The satellite was expected to enter service last summer.
EchoStar’s 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.
Interfax reported that specialists at Khrunichev State Space Center were working to eliminate the problem detected in late 2016 at the final stage of preparations for the launch. The malfunction caused the launch date to be moved from December 28 to this year. It was initially planned to change the launch date to January 31st.
Echostar-21 is a geostationary communications satellite made by Space Systems/Loral for one of the world’s biggest satellite communications operators, EchoStar Corp. The satellite is designed to provide mobile and satellite communications services over Europe. The Echostar-21 is to become a sixth satellite in the Echostar orbital group to be launched via a Proton carrier rocket.