Northrop Grumman's satellite servicing spacecraft and a Eutelsat communications satellite developed by the company in partnership with Airbus have been launched to geostationary transfer orbit through a Russian Proton-M rocket, NASA Spaceflight reported Tuesday.
The launch took place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as part of NASA's International Launch Services program.
The GPS-driven Eutelsat 5 West B satellite is intended to support Europe and Northern Africa's video markets throughout a 15-year period. Airbus handled the communications payload while Northrop designed, integrated and tested the satellite as well as its primary operational component.
Eutelsat selected Airbus and Orbital ATK to develop the satellite in 2016 before the latter was acquired by Northrop last year. As part of the commercial ILS program, Proton-M also carried Northrop's Mission Extension Vehicle designed to sustain satellites in-orbit to extend their service life.
Northrop's SpaceLogistics business announced its plans to launch the service last week and is under contract with Intelsat to sustain the 901 satellite. The Falls Church, Va.-based firm is working on a second MEV, which is slated to launch in 2020.