A Russian-built Proton M Breeze M rocket, flown in the colours of a commercial flight offered by International Launch Services (ILS) successfully launched the Eutelsat 9B spacecraft into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) at 2220 GMT on 29 January 2016. The launch took place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan. Separation from the rocket’s final Breeze-M upper stage occurred at 0732 GMT the following day.
The 5,162kg commercial communications spacecraft, which is owned and operated by Eutelsat, will eventually offer Ku-band direct broadcasting services to Europe and the Middle East from its 9 degree East position in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) once it has arrived at that position.
The Eutelsat 9B spacecraft, which was built by Airbus Defence and Space, also carries a laser communications payload as part of its role as EDRS-1 (European Data Relay System-1) whereby it will relay data via laser from Earth observation satellites in lower orbits back to Earth.