The two spacecraft, making up the Integrated Payload Stack, weighed 5,190 kg at liftoff, and were separated 15 hours, 36 minutes (EUTELSAT 5 WestB and 15 hours, 54 minutes (MEV-1) after liftoff. Operators at the Northrop Grumman operations centre in Dulles, Virginia acquired the spacecraft’s first telemetry from orbit shortly after separation. EUTELSAT 5 West B is a Ku-band satellite that will be located at 5° West, a key video neighbourhood addressing predominantly French, Italian and Algerian broadcast markets. The new satellite will provide business continuity and improved quality for these markets via a Ku band payload of 35 equivalent 36 MHz transponders connected to three service areas. Switchable transponders will also increase commercial flexibility. MEV-1 will deliver a groundbreaking on-orbit servicing satellite life-extension through Northrop Grumman’s wholly-owned subsidiary SpaceLogistics LLC. MEV-1 will dock to client vehicles in geosynchronous orbit to provide attitude and orbit control of the combined vehicle stack. MEV-1 has the ability to dock and undock several times during its 15 year design life, allowing it to service multiple customers. SpaceLogistics LLC’s initial service, using MEV-1, will extend the life of the Intelsat 901 satellite for five years.
5° West a short History of this satellite position, Stellat 5, as it was originally known, was built by Alcatel Space on behalf of Stellat, a joint-venture between France Telecom (70%) and Europe*Star (30%), a subsidiary of Alcatel Space and Loral Space and Communications. It was launched 5 July 2002 at 23:21 UTC by an Ariane 5 G rocket from Guyana Space Centre along with the Japanese satellite N-STAR c. It had a launch weight of 4,050 kilograms (8,930 lb). Victim of financial difficulties, France Télecom withdrew from space operations. In this move it sold Stellat to Eutelsat in July 2002. Early 8 October, the satellite entered operational service.
Eutelsat completed the acquisition for a sum of €183,900,000 and renamed the satellite Atlantic Bird 3.
AB 3 took on the role covered by the satellites Telecom 1 and 2 C, operational between 1983 and 2002, in the historic French position of 5° longitude West. In March 2012 Eutelsat re-baptised its satellite fleet, and AB 3 was renamed Eutelsat 5 West A.