International Launch Services (ILS) which handles the commercial side of the Russian Proton rocket sales activity, is to launch the delayed two-satellite mission for Eutelsat and Northrop Grumman on October 9th, weather permitting.
The initial launch was planned for September 30th but delayed because of an electrical glitch.
Eutelsat’s 5 WB craft is one ‘passenger’ and the other is Northrop Grumman’s MEV-1 ‘space tug’ Mission Extension Vehicle.
E-5WB will also carry an additional mission task in the form of an EGNOS payload (the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service). EGNOS, developed by the European Space Agency, augments the US GPS and European Galileo sat-navigation system and will aid aircraft and maritime tasks. The aircraft aspect delivers super-accurate (to one-metre) positioning while in the air or near the ground. It means that pilots can land their aircraft using GPS/EGNOS systems, which are now in place at more than 100 European airports.
E-5WB will continue its DTH mission in particular for the French ‘Fransat’ ‘free’ DTH service, now celebrating 10 years of use. It will carry more than 300 channels, of which Eutelsat says 130 are in HD.
5 degrees West serves France, Italy and Algerian markets and E-5WB is the 5th satellite to occupy the orbital slot.
Northrop’s MEV-1 Mission Extension Vehicle will orbit and attach itself to Intelsat 901, and support the satellite – launched in June 2001 – for some five years.