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Ariane 5 March 22, 2014

Continuity for established customers: Arianespace’s Ariane 5 orbits satellites at the service of SES and HISPASAT

Ariane 5 performs another on-time lift-off from the Spaceport (photo at left) and ascends through a low cloud deck with its dual payload (right).

The workhorse Ariane 5 orbited a pair of payloads – ASTRA 5B for SES and HISPASAT’S Amazonas 4A – this evening, continuing the relationships with two customers that have come to rely on Arianespace’s launch services.

Lifting off from the Spaceport in French Guiana, Flight VA216 provided a total payload lift performance of some 9,580 kg. on the delivery mission to geostationary transfer orbit.  It was one of multiple launch campaigns currently underway for Arianespace missions, covering its full launcher family – composed of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega.

In post-launch comments at the Spaceport, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël acknowledged the trust placed by today’s two mission customers: SES and HISPASAT.

In post-launch comments at the Spaceport, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël acknowledged the trust placed by today’s two mission customers: SES and HISPASAT.

ASTRA 5B was deployed by Ariane 5 at 27 minutes into the mission, with Amazonas 4A separated from the launcher at 34 minutes after liftoff.

This was Ariane 5’s second flight in 2014, and the 73rd overall launch of the vehicle – continuing its on-target track record with the 59th consecutive success.  The mission was designated Flight VA216 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system.

Ariane 5 also continued its high delivery accuracy, providing an on-target delivery with the following estimated orbital parameters at the injection of its cryogenic upper stage:

  • Perigee: 249.7 km. for a target of 249.7 km.
  • Apogee: 35,895 km. for a target of 35,888 km.
  • Inclination: 2.99 deg. for a target of 3.00 deg.

Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël noted that ASTRA 5B was the SES group’s 39th satellite to use Arianespace launchers in the framework of a 25-year-long cooperation that started in December 1988 with the launch of ASTRA 1A.  SES operates the leading direct-to-home (DTH) satellite broadcast system in Europe based on its ASTRA family of satellites, serving more than 135 million households via cable and DTH networks.

ASTRA 5B was produced by Airbus Defence and Space using a Eurostar 3000 L platform, and had a mass at liftoff of more than 5,700 kg.  It is fitted with 40 active Ku-band and 6 Ka-band transponders, and will be positioned at 31.5 degrees East. Also aboard ASTRA 5B is an L-band payload for the European geostationary navigation overlay system, EGNOS.

Amazonas 4A was the eighth satellite launched by Arianespace for Spain, and the sixth for HISPASAT.  It is part of the Amazonas relay platform series that is expanding HISPASAT’s business over South America.

“I am happy that, tonight, we have been up to the trust HISPASAT placed in our service, and I wish Amazonas 4A a safe journey to its final destination,” Israël said in comments from the Spaceport’s mission control center.  “I have no doubt it will be there on spot to broadcast worldwide the images of La Roja’s victory in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil!”

As the 25th Orbital Sciences Corporation-built satellite launched by Arianespace, Amazonas 4A is based on a GEOStar-2.4 platform, and weighed in at about 3,000 kg. for liftoff.  This high-power satellite’s 24 active Ku-band transponders will provide a broad range of telecommunications services across all of South America, and has a design life of 15 years.

After tonight’s Ariane 5 success, Arianespace’s next mission continues in preparation at the Spaceport: Soyuz Flight VS07, scheduled for liftoff on April 3 with Europe’s Sentinel-1A Earth observation spacecraft.

Also being readied are Vega Flight VV03 with the European-built DZZ-HR multi-mission satellite for Kazakhstan, and Ariane 5 Flight VA218 with the Optus 10 and MEASAT-3b satellite passengers.  The European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Georges Lemaître is at the Spaceport undergoing checkout in advance of Ariane 5’s VA219 mission for servicing of the International Space Station, with its launcher now at the Spaceport as well.

Israël highlighted how Arianespace’s fast-paced 2014 launch schedule results from the capabilities of its industrial team – led by Airbus Defence and Space for Ariane 5, Roscosmos for Soyuz and ELV for Vega; and also acknowledged the key role of France’s CNES space agency and the European Space Agency (ESA).

The ESA, CNES and Arianespace lineup also was recognized by SES Chief Technology Officer Martin Halliwell in his after-mission speech at the Spaceport’s control center.  “It’s really down to the professionalism and the excellence, which is expressed by those entire teams, that makes what is extremely complicated-technically look routine,”  he stated.  “It looked so calm and looked so easy…and it isn’t.  It is really due to the extreme professionalism of the teams that make this happen.  So I really commend you for that.”

HISPASAT President Elena Pisonero gave thanks to those involved in her company’s Amazonas 4A project and tonight’s successful launch.  Addressing Stéphane Israël in French, she called Arianespace’s performance “exceptional” in congratulating the company.  “I would like to thank Arianespace, which put the final touches on this project,” she said.  “Its exceptional professionalism never disappoints the trust we placed in this company.  With its prestige and reputation, this is why we hope to continue collaborating with Arianespace for our next satellite project.”

Ariane 5 March 22, 2014

Ariane 5’s heavy-lift flight with ASTRA 5B and Amazonas 4A enters the final countdown

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