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45th Space Wing successfully launches ABS-3A/EUTELSAT mission from ‘Cape’

The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing successfully launched the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission of the EUTELSAT 115 West B and ABS-3A communications satellites March 1, 2015, at 10:50 p.m. from Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. (Courtesy photo/Mike Killian of AmericaSpace) (Limited Release)

The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing successfully launched the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission of the EUTELSAT 115 West B and ABS-3A communications satellites March 1, 2015, at 10:50 p.m. from Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. (Courtesy photo/Mike Killian of AmericaSpace) (Limited Release)

The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing successfully launched the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission of the EUTELSAT 115 West B and ABS-3A communications satellites March 1, 2015, at 10:50 p.m. from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. (Courtesy photo/John Studwell of AmericaSpace) (Limited Release)

The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing successfully launched the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission of the EUTELSAT 115 West B and ABS-3A communications satellites March 1, 2015, at 10:50 p.m. from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. (Courtesy photo/John Studwell of AmericaSpace) (Limited Release)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing successfully launched the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission of the EUTELSAT 115 West B and ABS-3A communications satellites March 1, 2015, at 10:50 p.m. from Launch Complex 40 here.

The Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed from the ground up by SpaceX for the reliable and cost-efficient transport of satellites and SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft.

As the first rocket completely developed in the 21st century, the Falcon 9 was designed from the beginning for maximum reliability.

Falcon 9's simple two-stage configuration minimizes the number of separation events -- and with nine first-stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown, according to SpaceX.

EUTELSAT 115 West B will provide the Americas with video, data, government, and mobile services for Paris-based Eutelsat.

ABS-3A will distribute television programming, Internet and mobile phone connectivity, and maritime services across the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Asia Broadcast Satellite of Bermuda and Hong Kong.

The satellites, built by Boeing, use all-electric xenon-ion propulsion, making it feasible to fit both on a single Falcon 9 and removing the need for weighty Hydrazine.

"We are the first aerospace company to develop this highly efficient and flexible all-electric satellite, and we completed the first two 702SPs less than three years after contract award," said Mark Spiwak, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International.

"With more than 210,000 hours of on-orbit experience with electric propulsion, we recognized that this highly efficient, lighter weight propulsion system would translate into cost savings for our customers," he said.

Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority for this mission, lauded the efforts of SpaceX, Boeing, and all the mission partners who made this mission a success.

"As a space wing whose future depends on innovation, imagination and successful missions, it's rewarding for all of us to work with companies who have the same priorities and forward-thinking people like we do here in every corner of Team Patrick-Cape," Armagno said.

"With every successful mission here on the eastern range, we affirm our vision statement to the entire world: 'The 45th Space Wing - The World's Premier Gateway to Space,'" she said.