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Ariane 5 December 21, 2016

Ariane 5’s year-ending success reinforces Arianespace’s relationships with two key regional operators

Flight VA234 was performed from the ELA-3 launch zone in French Guiana, orbiting two satellite payloads: Star One D1 and JCSAT-15.

Arianespace wrapped up another year of on-target launches with a dual-passenger mission today that orbited telecommunications satellites for Brazil and Japan – with both of these spacecraft produced by a U.S. satellite manufacturer.

The seventh flight of Arianespace’s Ariane 5 heavy-lift vehicle in 2016 – and the company’s 11th overall this year with its launcher family – lofted the Star One D1 relay platform, to be operated by Brazil’s Embratel Star One; along with JCSAT-15 for utilization by Japanese operator SKY Perfect JSAT Corp.

“With Star One D1, Arianespace has launched all Embratel Star One satellites since 1985 – amounting to 11 birds, and it’s been only a year since we launched Embratel’s Star One C4,” said Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël. “Another special partner, SKY Perfect JSAT, entrusted its 19th satellite to Arianespace since our launch of the JCSAT-1 in 1989. We have one more SKY Perfect JSAT satellite in our backlog, and we are looking for further opportunities!”

SSL satellites “double up” on Ariane 5

Both satellites carried on the latest Ariane 5 mission – designated VA234 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – were produced in Palo Alto, California by Space Systems Loral (SSL) using the company’s SSL 1300 platform.

The year-ending launch of Flight VA234 involved a daytime liftoff of Arianespace’s workhorse Ariane 5.

“With today’s flight, Arianespace has launched a total of 11 SSL-built telecom and Earth observation satellites this year, including two SSL-dedicated Ariane 5 missions,” Israël added in remarks from the Spaceport. “We now have two more SSL geostationary orbit communication satellites in our backlog.”

The double mission marked the second time in 2016 that Arianespace orbited a pair of SSL-built satellites on the same Ariane 5. In addition to the use of heavy-lift Ariane 5s in orbiting telecommunications relay platforms built by SSL, four of the company-manufactured Earth observation satellites were lofted by Arianespace by its lightweight Vega in September for American operator Terra Bella.

Ariane 5’s “fast track” to orbital delivery

During Flight VA234, Ariane 5 delivered an estimated payload lift performance of 10,722 kg., deploying its two payloads in 43 minutes.

Climbing away from the Spaceport, Ariane 5 begins its 43-minute mission to orbit the Star One D1 and JCSAT-15 satellites for operators in Brazil and Japan.

Released first during the mission was Star One D1, which is now heading to a geostationary orbit position of 84 deg. West.  The satellite will extend Embratel Star One’s operations in C-Band and bring new capacities in Ku-band for Latin America and Ka-band for Brazil, complementing the service provided by Embratel Star One’s Brasilsat B4 satellite – launched by Arianespace in 1994.

The second passenger’s deployment during Flight VA234 put JCSAT-15 on its way to a geostationary orbit location of 110 deg. East, where it will relay the multi-channel pay TV service SKY PerfecTV! across Japan, as well as provide data transfer communications and maritime/aviation applications for the Oceania and Indian Ocean regions. JCSAT-15 is intended to replace the N-SAT-110 satellite, which Arianespace orbited in 2000.

Today’s mission continued Ariane 5’s on-target performance track record, with the following estimated orbital parameters at injection:
– Perigee: 249.2 km. for a target of 249.1 km.
– Apogee: 35,920 km. for a target of 35,905 km.
– Inclination: 6.00 deg. for a target of 6.00 deg.

Looking ahead to 2017, Arianespace’s next launch is set for the end of January with a Soyuz flight to orbit the Hispasat 36W-1 telecommunications satellite.

  • Read the Flight VA234 launch press release for additional information.
  • Larger versions of the photos above are available for downloading in the Gallery.

Embratel Star One website:

SKY Perfect JSAT Corp website:

Space Systems Loral website:

Ariane 5 December 21, 2016

Liftoff of Arianespace’s Ariane 5 with Star One D1 and JCSAT-15

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