Control room personnel during the launch of ESA's ECS-1 and AMSAT's P3B from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 16 June 1983 aboard an Ariane 1.
The ECS telecommunications satellites each operated up to nine Ku-band transponders working simultaneously through five beams across Europe, with a capacity equivalent to 12 000 telephone circuits or 10 TV channels. Five ECS satellites were built; ECS-3 was lost due to a launcher failure.
After in-orbit testing, ECS-1 was handed over to Eutelsat by ESA on 12 October 1983. It was retired from service in December 1996, having been in service for almost twice its design lifetime of seven years.