|Names||SATMEX 7 (2012-2014)|
Eutelsat 115 West B (2014—)
|Mission duration||15 years (planned)|
|Launch mass||4,861 pounds (2,205 kg)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||March 2, 2015, 03:50UTC|
|Rocket||Falcon 9 v1.1|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-40|
|Entered service||October 15, 2015|
|Perigee altitude||35,793 kilometres (22,241 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||35,795 kilometres (22,242 mi)|
|Epoch||19 March 2015, 01:45:59 UTC|
|Band||34 Ku band, 12 C band|
Eutelsat 115 West B (previously SATMEX 7) is a communications satellite that is operated by Eutelsat, providing video, data, government, and mobile services for the Americas. The satellite was designed and manufactured by Boeing Space Systems, and is a Boeing 702SP model communication satellite. It is located at 115 degrees west longitude. It was launched on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 2 March 2015 (UTC time).
The satellite is solely propelled by electrically powered spacecraft propulsion, with the onboard thrusters used for both geostationary orbit insertion and station keeping.
The satellite had a launch mass of 4,861 pounds (2,205 kg). It is notable for being the first commercial communications satellite in orbit to use electric propulsion, providing a significant weight savings. Eutelsat 115 West B was launched with another Boeing 702SP satellite, ABS-3A, on the same rocket.
Eutelsat 115 West B is planned to be the first in a family of four satellites in the Eutelsat constellation. The satellite was scheduled for entry into service in November 2015, but entered service a month earlier than expected, in October 2015.
The launch is also notable for being the first flight of Boeing's stacked satellite configuration for the Boeing 702SP, a configuration Boeing designed specifically to take advantage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 capabilities.
The sister-satellite 702SP from the same launch—ABS-3A—became fully operational as a geosynchronous communications satellite by 10 September 2015 after a handover from Boeing to ABS for on-orbit operations on 31 August 2015, approximately one month earlier than planned. A press release on 15 October 2015 stated that Eutelsat 115 West B has started providing service.
But the Falcon 9 is not just changing the way launch-vehicle providers do business; its reach has gone further, prompting satellite makers and commercial fleet operators to retool business plans in response to the low-cost rocket. In March 2012, Boeing announced the start of a new line of all-electric telecommunications spacecraft, the 702SP, which are designed to launch in pairs on a Falcon 9 v1.1. Anchor customers Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) of Hong Kong and Mexico's SatMex plan to loft the first two of four such spacecraft on a Falcon 9 in December in a launch window that opens this year, though SatMex owner Eutelsat said last month that the launch has moved to early 2015. Using electric rather than chemical propulsion will mean the satellites take months, rather than weeks, to reach their final orbital destination. But because all-electric spacecraft are about 40% lighter than their conventional counterparts, the cost to launch them is considerably less than that for a chemically propelled satellite.
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