Ariane 5 delivers! Anik F2 is the largest commercial telecom satellite ever launched
Arianespace successfully orbited Telesat's Anik F2 payload on an Ariane 5 tonight, placing the 5,950 kg. (12,118-lb.) spacecraft into geostationary transfer orbit.
Anik F2 is the heaviest commercial telecommunications satellite ever launched, and will provide high-speed Internet and digital communications from a final orbital position of 111.1 deg. West.
It uses the Boeing 702 satellite bus and carries a mixed payload of 32 Ku-band transponders, 38 Ka-band transponders and 24 C-band transponders.
Flight 163 marked the 15th successful mission of the Ariane 5 (Generic) launch vehicle.
“I would like to thank Telesat, which has – for the fifth time – placed its confidence in Arianespace,” said Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall after the conclusion of Flight 163. “I also would like to thank the European Space Agency, French CNES space agency and Arianespace’s industrial team for the mission – and in particular the personnel here at the Spaceport, who gave their full support during the past several days.”
Previous satellites launched by Arianespace for the Ottawa, Canada-based Telesat were Anik F1 in November 2000, MSAT 1 in April 1996, Anik E1 in September 1991, and Anik E2 in April 1991.
The liftoff of Flight 163 had been delayed by two anomalies and a weather scrub, but the Ariane launch team demonstrated its reactivity by adjusting to the situation and making sure Ariane 5 and the Spaceport were launch-ready.
Arianespace’s next mission is targeted for October, and will use the Ariane 5 ECA heavylift launcher version. Flight 164 will carry two payloads: the XTAR-EUR X-band telecommunications satellite (for the XTAR joint venture company of Loral Space & Communications and HISDESAT, S.A.), and a Kayser-Threde test satellite produced for the European Space Agency.