74th successful launch in a row for Ariane 5, equaling the record set by Ariane 4, and supporting the space ambitions of Australia and India
Arianespace has successfully launched the Sky Muster™ II satellite for Australian operator nbn (National Broadband Network) and the GSAT-18 satellite for the Indian space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).
The launch took place on October 5 at 5:30 pm (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana.
Today’s flight was the eighth of the year for Arianespace and the fifth by an Ariane 5 launcher, which logged its 74th successful mission in a row, equaling the record set by the predecessor Ariane 4 from 1995 to 2003.
With today’s successful mission for Australia and India, Arianespace proudly supports two major national space programs.
Ariane 5 equals Ariane 4’s record for successful launches in a row
This launch was the 74th success in a row for Ariane 5, equaling the record set by the Ariane 4 launcher from 1995 to 2003. Ariane 5 has carried out 74 consecutive successful missions, launching 145 payloads that weigh a cumulated total of more than 623 metric tons, including:
133 main payloads, weighing 618 metric tons,
12 secondary payloads, weighing 5 metric tons.
During this uninterrupted string of 74 launches, Ariane 5s have orbited 24 more satellites than Ariane 4 during this equivalent series of successes, launching a combined total of 348 metric tons into orbit. This unprecedented series of successful launches in the marketplace once again proves the exceptional availability and reliability of Arianespace’s heavy-lift launcher.
Reducing the digital divide in Australia
Sky Muster™ II is the second satellite launched by Arianespace for the Australian operator nbn (National Broadband Network), owned by the Commonwealth of Australia. It is also the eighth satellite that Arianespace has launched for Australia, following Aussat 3, Optus C1/D1/D2/D3 and 10, and Sky Muster™ I, launched in September 2015.
Sky Muster™ II will help extend high-speed internet service to the entire country, including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands, in conjunction with the services currently delivered by Sky Muster™ I.
With Sky Muster™ II, the operator meets its objectives of developing the digital economy in Australia, bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas, and enhancing connections between this vast territory and the rest of the world.
Arianespace, partner of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation)
GSAT-18 is the 20th satellite from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) to be launched by Arianespace. It will provide telecommunications services for India and bolsters ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites.
GSAT-18 will contribute to ISRO’s mission of using space to help develop the Indian subcontinent through the deployment of all types of satellites (including Earth observation, telecommunications, broadcasts of educational programs, science and navigation).
Along with its own launch capacity, ISRO has entrusted Arianespace with its satellites for over 35 years, starting with the launch by Ariane 1 of the APPLE (Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment) experimental satellite in 1981. The current Arianespace order book includes two ISRO satellite launches in 2017: GSAT-11 and GSAT-17.
Shortly after the announcement of the orbital injection of the two satellites, Arianespace Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “With this fifth Ariane 5 launch in 2016, Arianespace proudly places its excellence at the service of two strategic space programs for Australia and India. We are especially honored to have been chosen by the Australian operator nbn to launch both of its satellites, and by ISRO, with our 20th launch for the Indian space agency today. I would also like to thank our long-standing partner SSL, which produced the Sky Muster™ II satellite.
“This 74th successful launch in a row by Ariane 5 equals the record set by Ariane 4. I would like to congratulate all our partners for this team success: the European Space Agency and the ESA member states participating in the Ariane program; our industrial prime contractor and lead shareholder, Airbus Safran Launchers as well as the entire European industry for Ariane; CNES/CSG along with all companies and staff at the launch base, who support us as we go from success to success. And of course, thanks to everybody at Arianespace for this eighth successful launch of 2016.”
The Sky Muster™ II satellite
Sky Muster™ II was built by SSL (Space Systems Loral) in Palo Alto, California, using a 1300 platform.
Sky Muster™ II weighed 6,405 kg. at liftoff and offers a design life exceeding 15 years. Positioned at 135° to 150° East, it is fitted with 202 Ka-band transponders.
Coverage zone: Australia, including the Norfolk, Cocos, Christmas and Macquarie islands.
GSAT-18 was built by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).
GSAT-18 weighed 3,404 kg. at liftoff and offers a design life exceeding 12 years. Positioned at 74° East, it is fitted with 12 Ku-band and 24 C-band transponders.
Coverage zone: India.
To use space for a better life on earth, Arianespace guarantees access to space transportation services and solutions for any type of satellite, commercial as well as institutional, into any orbit. Since 1980, Arianespace has placed more than 500 satellites into orbit with its three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from French Guiana in South America, and from Baikonur, Kazakhstan (central Asia). Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, France near Paris, and has a facility at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.