Ariane 5 delivers a record performance with two payloads for new Arianespace customers
April 22, 2011 – Ariane Flight VA201
A heavy-lift Ariane 5 successfully orbited two satellite payloads today that will supply telecommunications services for two new customers who join the growing list of Arianespace commercial launch services users.
In a flight conducted from the Spaceport in French Guiana, the Ariane 5 deployed Yahsat Y1A, the first satellite to be operated by the United Arab Emirates’ Al Yah Satellite Communications Company; along with Intelsat New Dawn, which was built for the new joint venture of Intelsat and Convergence Partners.
Adding to this mission’s milestones was the lift performance record for Ariane 5: delivering a total mass of 10,050 kg. to geostationary transfer orbit, of which 8,956 kg. was the combined weight of its two satellite payloads.
Lifting off on time at 6:37 p.m. in French Guiana, the Ariane 5 climbed through a partial cloud cover at sunset, and continued its downrange flight in clear skies. This allowed a direct view of the separation for Ariane 5’s two solid propellant boosters at an altitude of 66.5 kilometers, followed by the payload fairing’s jettison at a 105-kilometer altitude.
It marked another of Ariane 5’s highly accurate flights, with the following estimated orbital parameters at the injection of its cryogenic upper stage:
- Perigee: 249.8 km. for a target of 249.7 km.
- Apogee: 35,975 km. for a target of 35,956 km.
- Inclination: 5.98 deg. for a target of 6.00 deg.
For tonight’s mission, Yahsat Y1A was positioned in the upper passenger slot of Ariane 5’s dual-payload “stack,” and was released at 27 minutes into the flight. This spacecraft was built by Astrium based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, while its Ku-band and C-band communications payload was supplied by Thales Alenia Space.
Yahsat Y1A will have a coverage footprint spanning the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia, creating regionally-focused capacity to meet the region’s expanding requirements for government, commercial and consumer satellite communication services. Operating from an orbital slot of 52.5 deg. East, it will support Abu Dhabi’s ambition to become a hub for media broadcasting and telecommunications services – enabling customers from Europe and South Asia to connect with customers across the entire coverage area.
Intelsat New Dawn – which was deployed from Ariane 5’s lower payload position at 35 minutes into tonight’s flight – is owned by a joint venture of Intelsat and a consortium led by Convergence Partners. This satellite’s C-band and Ku-band transponders are to support the communications infrastructure for African customers who have experienced exceptional growth, and contribute to the region’s development. It is tailored for voice, wireless backhaul, Internet and media applications services.
Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation using its STAR-2 platform, Intelsat New Dawn will be integrated with Intelsat’s global satellite fleet and stationed at the 32.8 deg. East orbital location. It was the 52nd satellite launched by Arianespace for Intelsat, the world’s leading satellite operator.
Following today’s successful mission, Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall announced the date for its next Ariane 5 launch: a May 19 liftoff from the Spaceport with the ST-2 payload for ST-2 Satellite Ventures Pte Ltd., and the GSAT-8 spacecraft for the Indian Space Research Organisation.
- Related links:
Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat)
Thales Alenia Space
Intelsat New Dawn
Orbital Sciences Corporation
- Additional information on today's launch is available in the Press release.
- Read about the flight’s symbolic “boost” from South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.
- Review our customer focus story for this successful heavy-lift mission.
- See the official Arianespace launch kit for further details on this mission.