Boeing announced it has completed the world's first all-electric propulsion satellites.
Mark Spiwak, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International, said, “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. 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.”
While electric propulsion has been used for many years for basic station keeping, the announcement implies these Boeing 702SP satellites will use only electric propulsion for placement into the final geostationary orbital location after launch. Two Boeing 702SP satellites, ABS-3A for Bermuda-based ABS and EUTELSAT 115 West B for Paris-based Eutelsat, will be launched next month. Patented Boeing technology allows two all-electric satellites to be stacked and launched together.
For additional information, see Boeing's 702SP Fact sheet. The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) has a web page with graphics and a good explanation of Electric (Ion) Propulsion. That page was created by Dennis Ward in 2000.