Arianespace boosts Skynet 5B and Star One C1 into orbit: Sets new record
Kourou, French Guiana, November 14, 2007
On Wednesday evening, November 14, Arianespace boosted two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO): the Astrium Paradigm Skynet 5B military communications satellite for the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), and the Star One C1 commercial communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Brazilian operator Star One.
35th Ariane 5 launch, 21st success in a row, and a new payload weight record
The latest successful launch of an Ariane 5, the fifth in 2007, confirms that Arianespace's launch Service & Solutions continues to set the standard for all telecom operators worldwide, whether civil or military. Since the beginning of 2007, Arianespace has successfully launched 10 of the 12 commercial telecommunications satellites placed in geostationary orbit.
The Ariane 5 ECA launcher set a new record on this mission, orbiting a total payload of more than 8,700 kg.
Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher in service today capable of simultaneously launching two payloads, and gives Arianespace customers unrivaled performance, flexibility and competitiveness.
One more Ariane 5 launch is scheduled by the end of the year.
A launch for civil and military telecom operators
The launch of Skynet 5B clearly reflects Arianespace's strategic role in guaranteeing independent access to space for European governments. Skynet 5A is the European launcher's 28th military payload. Arianespace has already orbited Skynet 4B, 4C, 4E, 4F and 5A for the British MoD and NATO. Arianespace's backlog of orders includes one more MoD satellite, Skynet 5C.
Star One C1 is the seventh Brazilian satellite launched by Arianespace. Star One is the largest regional satellite service operator in Latin America. Arianespace has one more satellite to be launched for the Brazilian operator, Star One C2.
Record order book
Since the beginning of 2007 Arianespace has signed 12 new Service & Solutions contracts for launches into geostationary transfer orbit, along with four contracts for low Earth orbit (LEO) launches. Following this launch, Arianespace still holds a record backlog of orders:
- 25 satellites to be launched into GTO, using Ariane 5 and possibly Soyuz for the smaller payloads.
- 11 government launches using Ariane 5, including 9 to launch the ATV cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.
- 9 specific Soyuz launches (3 in Baikonur via Starsem, 6 from the Guiana Space Center).
Skynet 5B/Star One C1 mission at a glance
The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Wednesday, November 14, at 07:06 p.m. local time in Kourou (22:06 UT, 8:06 p.m. in Rio de Janeiro, 5:06 p.m. in Washington, D.C., and 11:06 p.m. in Paris).
Provisional parameters at injection of the Ariane 5's cryogenic upper stage (ESC-A) were:
Perigee: 250 km for a target of 250 km (±4)
Apogee: 35,953 km for a target of 35,786 km (±240)
Inclination: 6.00 degrees for a target of 6.00 degrees (±0.06°)
Skynet 5B is being launched on behalf of Astrium, which is delivering the satellite in orbit to Paradigm. The private company Paradigm will offer secure communications services for British armed forces, NATO and other countries. Built by Astrium using a Eurostar 3000 platform, Skynet 5B weighs about 4,700 kg. It will be positioned at 56 degrees East.
The Star One C1 satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space as part of a turnkey contract with Brazilian operator Star One. Based on a Spacebus 3000 B3 platform, it weighs about 4,100 kg at launch. It will be positioned at 65 degrees West. Star One C1 is fitted with 28 C-band transponders, 14 Ku-band transponders and one X-band transponder. Star One C1 will provide communications, multimedia and broadband Internet services for South America.