MOSCOW, October 10. /TASS/. Two commercial satellites, Europe’s Eutelsat-5WB and US MEV-1, launched atop the Proton-M carrier rocket on Wednesday, were put into their designated orbits on Thursday, the International Launch Services (ILS) said on Twitter.
"EUTELSAT 5 West B separation has been confirmed!" the launch services provider said. "Mission Extension Vehicle-1 separation has been confirmed. Mission success!"
The delivery of the satellites into their designated orbits, from the blast-off to their separation, took a record 15 hours and 54 minutes. Roscosmos explained to TASS that such a lengthy delivery was related to the satellites’ orbits.
The previous record was set by an ExoMars probe launched in March 2016 with the help of a Proton-M rocket. The rocket’s Breeze-M booster injected the interplanetary station into its flight path to Mars in about 11 hours.
Initially, the liftoff was scheduled for September 30, 2019 but was delayed due to the need to hold further tests of the booster’s control system. A source in the domestic space industry explained to TASS that the launch was delayed because the US satellite was attached incorrectly to the upper stage.
Roscosmos Head Dmitry Rogozin earlier confirmed to reporters that a problem linked with the interface between the Russian control system and the satellites’ electronics was the cause of the launch’s delay. On September 27, the state commission made a decision to reschedule the launch for October 9.
International Launch Services Company signed a contract with the Eutelsat European satellite communications operator in 2016 for the launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket with a paired payload comprising the Eutelsat-5Wb and the first satellite to extend the service life of MEV-1 space vehicles.