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Eutelsat launched a communication satellite equipped with a Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) payload

Jun.29,2016

Eutelsat, a French-based communication satellite operator, launched the Eutelsat 117 West B communication satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket made by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the United States at 10:29 on June 15 local time (23:29 JST).


This simultaneous launch of two satellites also included ABS-2B, a communication satellite for Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS), a Chinese satellite operator based in Bermuda. Both were put onto the prescribed transfer orbit, making the launch a success.

Falcon 9 rocket launch

Launch on a Falcon 9 rocket (image provided by: SpaceX)

Eutelsat 117 West B contains 48 transponders for communication and broadcasting in the Central America, South America, and Caribbean region, and is also equipped with a Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) payload for Raytheon, an American company. WAAS is a type of Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS). This service by the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sends signals to improve GPS positioning accuracy from several dozens of meters to one to two meters. It covers a wide area including Alaska, Canada, the North American continent, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, helping to improve aerial safety through enhanced positioning accuracy.

Eutelsat 117 West B is a fully electrically propelled satellite equipped with an electric propulsion system that uses an ion engine. Approximately seven months will be spent transferring it to a geostationary orbit (GEO), using only electric power, and operations will begin next year (2017).

Reference

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*Header and text images provided by: SpaceX