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Successful Ariane launch for GSAT-11

By Robert Briel

Arianespace’s 10th mission of 2018 orbited satellite payloads today for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

Designated Flight VA246 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, it delivered the ISRO GSAT-11 relay platform for Ku- and Ka-band communications, along with KARI’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A – which is to provide meteorological and space weather monitoring data.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to two very special partners since the beginning of their space ambitions: ISRO and KARI,” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël in post-launch comments from the Spaceport.

Israël noted that GSAT-11 was the 22nd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers, tracing the relationship back to India’s APPLE small experimental communications spacecraft, which had a liftoff mass of 670-kg. and was lofted in 1981 by an Ariane 1 version. On today’s Ariane 5 mission, GSAT-11 weighed in at 5,854.6 kg. – the largest and heaviest satellite ever built by the Indian space agency.

Deployed first during Ariane 5’s 33-minute mission to geostationary transfer orbit, GSAT-11 will be positioned at 74 deg. East, providing communications services in Ku- and Ka-bands in both forward and return links. The satellite was designed and manufactured by ISRO, with its multi-spot beam coverage over the Indian mainland and nearby islands to bring significant advantages to users when compared with existing India’s INSAT/GSAT satellite systems. GSAT-11’s design lifetime is more than 15 years.

GEO-KOMPSAT-2A was carried in Ariane 5’s lower payload position and released second in the sequence for Flight VA246. Developed by KARI at its South Korean facility in Daejeon, this 3,507.2-kg. satellite will deliver meteorological and space weather monitoring from an orbital position of 128.2 degrees East as part of a Korean government national programme.

Successful Ariane launch for GSAT-11

By Robert Briel

Arianespace’s 10th mission of 2018 orbited satellite payloads today for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

Designated Flight VA246 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, it delivered the ISRO GSAT-11 relay platform for Ku- and Ka-band communications, along with KARI’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A – which is to provide meteorological and space weather monitoring data.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to two very special partners since the beginning of their space ambitions: ISRO and KARI,” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël in post-launch comments from the Spaceport.

Israël noted that GSAT-11 was the 22nd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers, tracing the relationship back to India’s APPLE small experimental communications spacecraft, which had a liftoff mass of 670-kg. and was lofted in 1981 by an Ariane 1 version. On today’s Ariane 5 mission, GSAT-11 weighed in at 5,854.6 kg. – the largest and heaviest satellite ever built by the Indian space agency.

Deployed first during Ariane 5’s 33-minute mission to geostationary transfer orbit, GSAT-11 will be positioned at 74 deg. East, providing communications services in Ku- and Ka-bands in both forward and return links. The satellite was designed and manufactured by ISRO, with its multi-spot beam coverage over the Indian mainland and nearby islands to bring significant advantages to users when compared with existing India’s INSAT/GSAT satellite systems. GSAT-11’s design lifetime is more than 15 years.

GEO-KOMPSAT-2A was carried in Ariane 5’s lower payload position and released second in the sequence for Flight VA246. Developed by KARI at its South Korean facility in Daejeon, this 3,507.2-kg. satellite will deliver meteorological and space weather monitoring from an orbital position of 128.2 degrees East as part of a Korean government national programme.

Ariane to launch Horizons 3e and Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38

By Robert Briel

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s dual-payload launch with the Horizons 3e and Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 telecommunications satellites has rolled out to the launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport, clearing the way for the milestone 100th flight of this workhorse from French Guiana.

Riding atop one of two mobile launch tables for the heavy-lift vehicle, Ariane 5 has completed its transfer from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building – where payload integration occurred – to the dedicated ELA-3 launch complex. With this rollout completed, the final countdown will begin for a September 25 liftoff at the start of a 45-minute launch window opening at 6:53pm local time in French Guiana (21:53 GMT)
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The mission is designated Flight VA243, and it has an estimated payload performance of 10,827 kg. – a total that factors in Horizons 3e and Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38, plus the dual-satellite dispenser system and integration hardware. Both passengers are to be deployed to geostationary transfer orbit during a 42-minute flight sequence.

Horizons 3e is the mission’s upper passenger and will be released first in the flight sequence at 28 minutes after liftoff. Owned by a joint venture of Intelsat and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, this Boeing-built spacecraft will provide coverage for aeronautical and maritime mobility, fixed and wireless operators, as well as mobility and government customers. Horizons 3e also is the first satellite in Intelsat’s EpicNG spacecraft series to feature entire Ku-band spot beams utilizing multiport amplifiers that optimize power across the spacecraft.

Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38, produced by SSL, is to be deployed 14 minutes later from Ariane 5’s lower passenger position. Azerspace-2 is Azerbaijan’s second geostationary satellite and will be operated by Azercosmos. Intelsat 38 will provide Ku-band capabilities and deliver continuity of service for the Intelsat 12 satellite located at 45 deg. East.

As the fourth heavy-lift Ariane 5 flight so far in 2018, tomorrow’s mission will continue an active year for Arianespace’s full family of launchers, which also has included one flight each with the medium-lift Soyuz and the lightweight Vega.

Ariane 5 launches SES-14 and Al Yah-3 despite β€˜lost contact’

By Robert Briel

SES-14 and Al Yah-3 have been successfully placed in orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket, Arianespace said Thursday, despite mission control briefly losing contact with the craft.

Ariane flights V241 blasted off at 7.20 pm (22:20 GMT) from Kourou in the first launch of the year for Arianespace.

Around an hour after the launch, CEO Stephane Israel announced that controllers had “lost contact” with the craft in what he described as an “anomaly”.

In a later statement Ariansesapce said: “A few seconds after ignition of the upper stage, the second tracking station located in Natal, Brazil, did not acquire the launcher telemetry. This lack of telemetry lasted throughout the rest of powered flight.

However, both SES-14 and Al Yah-3 satellites are now in orbit, despite the lost contact. “Subsequently, both satellites were confirmed separated, acquired and they are on orbit. SES-14 and Al Yah 3 are communicating with their respective control centers. Both missions are continuing,” according to the latest update from Arianespace.

SES-14 and Al Yah 3 ready for next Ariane 5 liftoff

By Robert Briel

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s upcoming mission from French Guiana is now complete following integration of its two satellite passengers:

SES-14 for operator SES and Yahsat’s Al Yah 3 – both of which will be delivered to geostationary transfer orbit on a flight planned for January 25.

Encapsulated in the ogive-shaped protective fairing, SES-14 has been positioned atop Al Yah 3 – which was installed on the launcher’s cryogenic core stage during previous activity inside the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5.

These successive integration steps enable a new series of preparation milestones to begin. They include the launch readiness review on January 23, which is to be followed by Ariane 5’s rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone the next day.

Liftoff is scheduled during a 45-min. launch window opening January 25 at 7:20 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the two spacecraft to be deployed on a flight lasting approximately 35 minutes.

Ariane 5 will deliver a total payload lift performance of more than 9,100 kg. during the mission – with this combined mass factoring in SES-14 and Al Yah 3, plus the launch vehicle’s dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.

Next week’s mission is designated VA241, marking the 241st flight using an Ariane vehicle since this European series of launchers entered service in 1979. It kicks off another busy year of activity for Arianespace, which has the objective of performing as many as 14 missions in 2018 with its full launcher family – consisting of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega.

SES-14 and Al Yah 3 set for January 25 launch

By Robert Briel

The Ariane 5 Flight VA241 will deliver the SES-14 and Al Yah 3 satellites to geostationary transfer orbit on January 25.

With Ariane 5 in position at the Final Assembly Building, the launcher is ready to receive its two satellite passengers, which have undergone their own pre-flight preparations inside the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing facility. The forthcoming integration activity will be followed by final verifications and subsequent rollout to the ELA-3 complex for liftoff.

Arianespace is orbiting SES-14 for Luxembourg-based telecommunications satellite operator SES. The spacecraft will serve Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and the North Atlantic region with its C- and Ku-band wide beam coverage, as well as Ku-band high-throughput spot beams coverage. It was produced by Airbus.

SES-14 also has a NASA-funded hosted payload for the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission, which is to deepen scientists’ understanding of the nearest reaches of space by providing unprecedented imaging of the Earth’s upper atmosphere from geostationary orbit.

Flight VA241’s Al Yah 3 passenger will be operated by Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PrJSC, which is located in the United Arab Emirates at Abu Dhabi. Once in orbit, the Orbital ATK-built, all-Ka-band spacecraft will provide affordable broadband communications to 60% of Africa’s population and more than 95% of Brazil’s population.

Ariane 5 orbits Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a

By Robert Briel

Transfert du lanceur du BAF vers la ZL, le 28/09/2017.

Designated Flight VA239, Ariane 5 has successfully launched Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a, from Kourou in French Guyana.

The mission carried Intelsat 37e for global operator Intelsat; along with BSAT-4a, which was launched as part of a turnkey contract between Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) and US-based satellite manufacturer SSL.

Intelsat 37e was deployed first in the flight sequence, separating from Ariane 5 at 29 minutes after liftoff, followed approximately 18 minutes later by BSAT-4a.

Intelsat 37e – built by Boeing using a 702MP platform – is the latest satellite from Intelsat’s high-throughput EpicNG series to be launched. It also marks the fourth EpicNG spacecraft orbited by Arianespace to date (following Ariane 5 missions with Intelsat 29e and Intelsat 33e in January and August 2016, respectively, plus last February’s heavy-lift flight that lofted SKY Brasil-1/Intelsat 32e).

Overall, Intelsat 37e is the 59th Intelsat satellite launched by Arianespace since 1983, as well as the 55th Boeing-produced spacecraft orbited by the company – continuing a partnership that extends back to 1987. Arianespace’s order book includes three more satellites to be lofted for Intelsat. Two Boeing payloads are in the Arianespace order book for future missions: Horizon-3e and ViaSat 3F1.

Weighing an estimated 6,440 kg. at liftoff, Intelsat 37e will provide capacity for wireless backhaul, enterprise VSAT and mobility networks, carrying out its mission from a 342-deg. East orbital slot.

The second-released passenger on today’s successful Ariane 5 flight, BSAT-4a, will be used for Direct-To-Home (DTH) television relay in Japan, as well as to expand the availability of advanced television services (such as 4K/8K ultra-high definition TV). It will operate from a final orbital position of 110 deg. East.

Arianespace has launched all B-SAT satellites since this company’s creation, reflecting an unmatched position in the market. Since 1989, Arianespace has lofted a total of 29 GTO satellites for Japanese operators, representing more than 75 percent of the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) market share in Japan.

Arianespace’s launch of BSAT-4a also continues its long-running partnership with SSL, having now launched a total of 64 satellites produced by this manufacturer since 1983 – with three more in the company’s order book (Azerspace2/Intelsat-38, Eutelsat 7C, and Intelsat 39).

Flight VA239 was Arianespace’s ninth launch in 2017, and it follows other heavy-lift Ariane 5 missions performed this year on February 14 (carrying Sky Brasil-1 and Telkom 3S), May 4 (SGDC and Koreasat-7), June 1 (ViaSat-2 and Eutelsat 172B) and June 28 (Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN and GSAT-17).

SES selects Arianespace for SES-17 launch

By Robert Briel

SES has selected Arianespace to launch its high-power, high-throughput satellite SES-17 on an Ariane 5 in 2021 from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

SES-17 is a powerful satellite delivering high-speed inflight connectivity and high-powered data services over the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean. SES-17 is the 53rd satellite entrusted to Arianespace for launch by SES.

Weighing more than six metric tons at launch, SES-17 will be among the 10 largest telecom satellites launched by Arianespace since the company’s founding. SES-17 is the third all-electric satellite for which SES has chosen an Arianespace launch. The satellite built by Thales Alenia Space is fitted with an electric propulsion system for orbital positioning and station-keeping; its payload comprises 200 Ka-band spotbeams; the orbital position of the spacecraft has not yet been disclosed.

“SES and Arianespace have developed an exceptional partnership over the past 30 years”, said Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer of SES.

“With this launch, we build on that relationship and underline our commitment to the European space industry. Together with today’s agreement with Arianespace to launch another four spacecraft of our O3b constellation on Soyuz in 2019, we are satisfied to conclude two important contracts with Arianespace giving us the necessary and reliable access to space that we need to further develop and drive our business.”

“This latest contract reflects the excellent relations built between Arianespace and SES over the past three decades. Our order book speaks for itself, with now 10 satellites to be launched for SES by 2021,” noted Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace.

“We are honoured to have been selected by SES for the launch of the new-generation SES-17 – an impressively sized, all-electric satellite – which shows Arianespace’s ability to adapt to customers’ evolving requirements. SES’ continued trust in Arianespace is a clear demonstration that our Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher is keeping pace with these changing technologies, prior to the advent of our new-generation Ariane 6 launch vehicle – for which discussions are underway to serve future SES missions.”

In a related development, SES has selected Arianespace for its fifth launch of four O3b satellites joining its O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) fleet.

The mission on a Soyuz rocket will be conducted from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, in 2019. The 12 satellites of the existing O3b fleet were orbited by Arianespace in 2013 and 2014; the next four satellites (13th to 16th) will be launched by Arianespace next year. The O3b fleet delivers low-latency data services provided by SES Networks, a business unit of SES.

Ariane’s Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a launch interrupted

By Robert Briel

Just after the ignition of Ariane 5’s main stage Vulcain engine, the on-board computer detected an anomaly affecting electrical equipment on one of the two solid-propellant boosters (EAP). This anomaly led to an interruption of the automated lift-off sequence of Ariane Flight VA239.

As soon as the analysis of the anomaly has been completed, Arianespace will announce a new launch date. The objective is to launch around the end of September 2017.

This interruption is perfectly compliant with the company’s procedures which authorise a launch only if 100% of launcher equipment is fully operational.

An analysis started immediately after the countdown interruption. It will continue to identify the anomaly’s cause and determine the measures to be taken in order to resume launch operations as soon as possible.

As the analysis is underway, Ariane 5 will be transferred to the Final Assembly Building (BAF) on Thursday, September 7, once the tanks have been purged. The two satellites, Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a, are safe under the fairing atop the launcher.

This postponement does not affect the other launches scheduled for the end of 2017, said Arianespace in a statement.

Ariane 5 ready to launch Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a

By Robert Briel

Arianespace’s fifth Ariane 5 mission of 2017 has been given the “green light” for liftoff on September 5.

The dual-satellite payload of Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a is ready for launch.

With approval granted, Ariane 5 is cleared for its September 4 rollout from the Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone. Liftoff will occur the following day during a 33-minute launch window that opens at 6:51 p.m. local time in French Guiana.

Total payload lift performance for next week’s liftoff is approximately 10,838 kg., with the Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a satellites being deployed to geostationary transfer orbit during a flight lasting 47 minutes. The mission is designated Flight VA239 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the 239th with an Ariane family vehicle.

Positioned in Ariane 5’s upper passenger position and encapsulated by the launcher’s ogive-shaped payload fairing, Intelsat 37e – produced by Boeing – is the next satellite in Intelsat’s high-throughput EpicNG series for launch.

Weighing an estimated 6,440 kg. at liftoff, the spacecraft will provide capacity for wireless backhaul, enterprise VSAT and mobility networks, carrying out its mission from a 342 degrees East orbital slot.

BSAT-4a – Flight VA239’s lower passenger, contained in Ariane 5’s SYLDA dispenser system – is being launched by Arianespace as part of a turnkey contract between Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) and U.S.-based satellite manufacturer SSL.

To be operated from an orbital position of 110 degrees East, this spacecraft will be used for Direct-To-Home (DTH) television relay in Japan, as well as to expand the availability of advanced television services (such as 4K/8K ultra-high definition TV). BSAT-4a will weight approximately 3,520 kg. at liftoff.

Preparations advance for Intelsat and BSat launch

By Robert Briel

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s ninth flight in 2017 is being readied for a September 5 liftoff from the Spaceport.

The launcher’s two satellite passengers – Intelsat’s Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a for SSL on behalf of Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) – continue their final checkout at the French Guiana facility.

Following its build-up in the Launcher Integration Building, the Ariane 5 has been moved to the Final Assembly Building for the upcoming installation of Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a – which are now undergoing their own checkout processes in separate halls of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility.

The upcoming mission to geostationary transfer orbit is designated Flight VA239 in Arianespace’s numbering system, and will mark the 239th launch of an Ariane vehicle since the European launcher series entered service in 1979.

Built by Boeing using a 702MP spacecraft platform, Intelsat 37e is the next satellite in Intelsat’s high-throughput EpicNG series for launch.

It also will be the fourth EpicNG spacecraft orbited by Arianespace to date (following Ariane 5 missions with Intelsat 29e and Intelsat 33e in January and August 2016, respectively, plus last February’s heavy-lift flight that lofted Sky Brasil-1/Intelsat 32e).

Operating in the C, Ku and Ka frequency bands, the spacecraft will provide capacity for wireless backhaul, enterprise VSAT and mobility networks. Intelsat 37e, which is to carry out its mission from a 342 degrees East orbital slot, will weigh approximately 6,440 kg. at liftoff.

Arianespace is launching Flight VA239’s co-passenger, BSAT-4a, as part of a turnkey contract between B-SAT and US-based satellite manufacturer SSL. To be operated from an orbital position of 110 degrees East, this spacecraft will be used for DTH television relay in Japan and to expand the availability of advanced television services, such as 4K/8K ultra-high definition TV.

BSAT-4a is based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform and is fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders. It will weigh approximately 3,520 kg. at liftoff, with a design life that exceeds 15 years.

Hellas Sat 3 successfully launched by Ariane 5

By Robert Briel

Ariane 5 has successfully launched Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN and GSAT-17.

Orbited by Arianespace Flight VA238 from the Spaceport in French Guiana were a so-called “condosat” composed of two payloads for Hellas Sat and Inmarsat, along with a spacecraft for the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Riding as the upper passenger on Flight VA238 was Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN, which integrated two relay payloads.

The payload for Hellas Sat 3 will expand this company’s business reach by providing DTH TV broadcast and telecommunications services, as well as the distribution of HD and UHD video content in Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. These fixed satellite services and broadcast satellite services include a cross-strap service between Europe and South Africa.

Christodoulos Protopapas, the CEO of Hellas Sat, congratulated Arianespace on successfully orbiting the Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN spacecraft, and said he was looking forward to the launch of his company’s next satellite – Hellas Sat 4 – scheduled on an Arianespace mission in 2018.

Also integrated on the Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN satellite is a relay payload for a system developed by Inmarsat with Deutsche Telekom to offer high-speed, high-capacity Wi-Fi connections for airline passengers.

Inmarsat Chief Technology Officer Michele Franci thanked Arianespace as part of the European effort that will bring cabin connectivity to passengers across Europe. “This satellite was riding on one of Europe’s best successes – Ariane,” he added.

Weighing an estimated 5,780 kg. at liftoff, Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN was produced by Thales Alenia Space using its Spacebus 4000C4 platform. With the satellite’s successful launch today, Arianespace has now orbited a total of 149 spacecraft built by the company – continuing a long-time partnership.

Bertrand Maureau, EVP, Telecommunications at Thales Alenia Space, acknowledged Ariane 5’s mission performance this evening, and noted that Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN was the fourth satellite from his company launched by Arianespace so far this year.

The dual-payload condosat has a total coverage area that includes spans Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan African regions, and will operate from a 39-deg. East orbital slot.

GSAT-17 was the 21st spacecraft orbited by Arianespace for the Indian Space Research Organisation, extending a relationship that dates back to 1981 with launch of the Apple experimental satellite.

June 28 launch for Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN and GSAT-17

By Robert Briel

Arianespace’s Ariane 5 launch is “go” for its Wednesday evening liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Approval for the June 28 mission, designated Flight VA238, was granted after the Launch Readiness Review, which confirmed the “go” status of Ariane 5, its Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN and GSAT-17 satellite payloads, the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.

The total payload carried on Flight VA238 is approximately 10,177 kg., with the mission lasting 39 minutes from liftoff to deployment of the two spacecraft passengers.

Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN is positioned as the upper passenger on Ariane 5, and will be released first during the flight, followed by GSAT-17’s deployment from the launcher’s lower payload position.

Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN is a two-payload “condosat” produced by Thales Alenia Space for Hellas Sat and Inmarsat. Once in orbit, the Hellas Sat 3 component will deliver DTH and telecom services to maintain and expand Hellas Sat’s business reach; while the Inmarsat S EAN component provides the satellite portion of Inmarsat’s new European Aviation Network.

Built using the Thales Alenia Space Spacebus 4000C4 platform, Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN has a liftoff mass of 5,780 kg.

GSAT-17 was manufactured by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to expand this national space agency’s current fleet of 17 telecommunications satellites. It will provide continuity of Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) in Normal C and Upper Extended C bands, as well as Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) in S-band and Data Relay and Search & Rescue services in UHF band.

The GSAT-17 spacecraft was built by ISRO/ISAC (the ISRO Satellite Centre), utilizing the Standard I-3K satellite bus. Its liftoff mass is set at 3,477 kg.

Eutelsat signs new launch contract with Arianespace

By Robert Briel

Following the launch of the Eutelsat 172B satellite, Eutelsat Communications has announced a new launch services contract with Arianespace.

The Arianespace order book now includes three future launches for Eutelsat in addition to the 32 Eutelsat satellites already launched by the European launch services provider over more than 30 years for one of the world’s leading satellite operators.

Of the three satellites to be launched, Eutelsat 7C (built by SSL) will be orbited in 2018, followed in 2019 by Eutelsat Quantum built by Airbus and the high throughput satellite built by Thales.

“Following today’s historic Ariane launch of Europe’s first high-power all-electric satellite, we are proud to once again team up with Arianespace, a long-standing partner and a leader in Europe’s vibrant space industry,” commented Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat.

“The technological diversity of the three new satellites entrusted to Arianespace is a compelling reflection of our commitment to innovation for the greater benefit of our customers, and to maintaining our competitiveness.”

Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, added: “This latest contract bolsters Eutelsat’s position as a benchmark customer of Europe’s heavy launcher, since Ariane 5 will launch three satellites for the European operator in 2018 and 2019. Our hope is that Ariane 6 will subsequently take over so that we can help Eutelsat meet its objectives even more efficiently.”

Successful launch for Eutelsat 172B

By Robert Briel

On its sixth successful launch during the first half of 2017, Arianespace set a new heavy-lift record tonight with Ariane 5 in delivering the ViaSat-2 and Eutelsat 172B telecommunications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit with flight VA237.

“With this new mission, Arianespace once again demonstrates the availability and versatility of its launch vehicle family for customers,” explained Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël. “For the third time this year and the 79th time in a row, Ariane 5 performed flawlessly. Well done! Congratulations to all!”

As the 118th Airbus-produced satellite orbited by Arianespace from Kourou, Franch Guyana, Eutelsat 172B uses the Eurostar E3000 EOR (Electric Orbit Raising) platform – becoming the first all-electric telecommunications satellite orbited by an Ariane 5.

Yohann Leroy, Eutelsat’s Chief Technical Officer and Deputy CEO, said that Flight VA237 demonstrated Arianespace’s ability to “efficiently and competitively place very powerful electric propulsion satellites into orbit” with Ariane 5.

Eutelsat 172B will deliver increased capacity for fast-growing applications that include in-flight and maritime connectivity, cellular backhaul, corporate networks, video and government services. It will be located at 172° East, a key neighbourhood providing exceptional Asia-Pacific reach over land and sea, from Alaska to Australia.

Designed to replace Eutelsat 172A, it will provide increased capacity, more power and improved coverage via C and Ku-band payloads connected to a range of service areas. Following the transfer of traffic to the new satellite Eutelsat 172A will continue commercial service at another orbital position.

Eutelsat 172B also features a new Ku-band multi-beam payload delivering 1.8 Gbps of throughput to serve the world’s fastest-growing region for air traffic. The Asia Pacific represents the largest opportunity for in-flight entertainment and connectivity services, with over 8,000 aircraft to be delivered to the region by 2034.

The customised High Throughput payload on Eutelsat 172B will be a major growth platform for in-flight connectivity, notably Panasonic Avionics Corporation, one of the suppliers of in-flight entertainment and connectivity services for commercial airlines. Eleven elliptical beams will enable Panasonic to bridge the West coast of North America to Asia, and down to Australia, supporting rapid air traffic growth in the region and surges in bandwidth use across densely used flight paths. Panasonic will also use the satellite’s widebeam Ku-band coverage as an overlay to deliver live TV to aircraft.

ViaSat-2 and Eutelsat 172B ready for June 1 launch

By Robert Briel

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s sixth mission overall in 2017 is now at the launch zone, ready for a June 1 evening departure to launch the dual-satellite payload of ViaSat-2 and EEutelsat 172B.

Installed atop one of two mobile launch tables in service for Ariane 5, the heavy-lift vehicle was transferred today from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to its ELA-3 launch zone.

ViaSat-2 will be released first during the nearly 42-minute mission, which is designated Flight VA237 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system. The spacecraft – with a liftoff mass estimated at 6,418 kg. – will be operated from an orbital position of 70 deg. West by ViaSat, a global broadband services and technology company based in Carlsbad, California.

The Boeing-built ViaSat-2 relay platform is designed to bring considerable improvements in terms of speed, lower costs and extended broadband coverage within its footprint, which includes North and Central America, plus the Caribbean, northern South America, and the aeronautical and maritime routes in the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe.

Completing Flight VA237 will be Eutelsat 172B’s deployment by Ariane 5. This spacecraft will join the fleet of Paris-based Eutelsat – a leading satellite operator in Europe, the Middle East and Africa – and has a liftoff mass set at 3,551 kg.

Eutelsat 172B is to be located at an orbital position of 172 deg. East for Asia-Pacific reach over land and sea from Alaska to Australia, delivering increased capacity for fast-growing applications that include in-flight and maritime connectivity, cellular backhaul, corporate networks, video distribution and government services. The spacecraft was built by Airbus as the initial all-electric telecommunications satellite produced in Europe – and the first of its type to be orbited by Ariane 5.

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