Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) and Orbital ATK has secured a construction contract from the European satellite operator Eutelsat Communications to build the Eutelsat 5 West B satellite, which according to its name will be placed over the longitude of 5 degrees West in the Geostationary arc. Airbus DS is selected as the prime manufacturer and will build the communications payload while Orbital ATK will use a version of its GEOStar bus to build the EUTELSAT 5 West B spacecraft. The communications payload will be the equivalent of 35 active Ku-band channels.
Under an earlier Eutelsat multi-satellite launch booking, the satellite, which will have an operational life of 15 years, is scheduled for launch in 2018 aboard an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton M launch vehicle and will fly with another Orbital ATK GEOStar bus spacecraft, the MEV-1, recovery system currently being builty by Orbital ATK to service/refuel spacecraft at the end of their lives in a geostationary/geosynchronous orbit. The fact that both spacecraft on the flight use the same bus design/platform is said to make the mounting (one on top of the other) easier.
A second Eutelsat launch booking (actually this is a booking within the earlier Eutelsat multi-satellite launch booking) for the new three stage Proton Medium to carry an undisclosed payload to orbit has also been made.