Ariane Flight VA247

with Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 and GSAT-31


Launch date
February 5, 2019
Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4, GSAT-31
Launch vehicle
Ariane 5 ECA
Launch site
Spaceport, French Guiana (Guiana Space Center)
KACST, Hellas Sat, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Prime contractor(s)
Lockheed Martin Space, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Geostationary orbit


For its first launch of 2019, Arianespace will orbit two telecommunications satellites using an Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center: Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4, a condosat for KACST (and Hellas Sat; along with GSAT-31 for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Through this 103rd Ariane 5 mission – the 70th with an Ariane 5 ECA version – Arianespace confirms its leadership in the geostationary launch services market segment.

4:01 PM
Washington, D.C., USA
6:01 PM
Kourou, French Guiana
Universal Time (UTC)
10:01 PM
Paris, France
11:01 PM
Athens, Greece
12:01 AM (Feb. 6)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2:31 AM (Feb. 6)
Bangalore, India


Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4

Composed of two payloads, Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4, also called HS- 4/SGS-1, is a geostationary condosat for KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology – Saudi Arabia) and Hellas Sat (Greece – Cyprus). To be installed as Flight VA247’s upper passenger, HS-4/SGS-1 will provide telecommunications capabilities, including television, Internet, telephone and secure communications in the Middle East, South Africa and Europe.

The Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 communications payload will provide advanced Ka-band spot beam communications services for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s KACST, including secure communications for the Gulf Cooperative Council region. KACST is an independent scientific organization of the government of Saudi Arabia that is responsible for the promotion of science and technology in the Kingdom.

The Hellas Sat 4 communications payload, on the other hand, will offer advanced Ku-band regional beam communications services for Arabsat’s subsidiary Hellas Sat, a Greek-Cypriot satellite operator which provides services to leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators by delivering contents to more than 3 million households.

With a design life of more than 15 years with orbital maneuver up to 23 years, HS-4/SGS-1 will be positioned at 39° East and will join Hellas Sat 3, launched by Arianespace on June 28, 2017 from the Guiana Space Center (on Flight VA238).

Since the launch of Arabsat-1A in 1985, Arianespace has expanded its services to the Middle East, and since then, has developed a trust-based relationship with historical telecommunications operations such as Arabsat. As such, HS-4/SGS-1 will be the 22nd satellites orbited for the Middle East region, accompanying the development of middle-eastern space programs.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, Lockheed Martin Space designed, assembled and integrated the HS-4/SGS-1 satellite in its Denver, Colorado and Sunnyvale, California facilities. HS-4/SGS-1 will be the 46th Lockheed Martin satellite to be launched by Arianespace, whose backlog comprises one additional satellite built by the American manufacturer.


Following the launch of GSAT-11 for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) using the yearending Ariane 5 of 2018, Arianespace will orbit GSAT-31 utilizing the initial Ariane 5 in 2019.

To be installed as Flight VA247’s lower passenger, GSAT-31 is a telecommunications satellite designed and manufactured by the Indian space agency. To be positioned at a longitude of 48° East, GSAT-31 is configured on ISRO’s enhanced I-2K bus structure to provide communications services from geostationary orbit in Ku-band for a lifetime greater than 15 years.

By operating GSAT-31, ISRO will – once again – foster the use of space to help bridge the digital divide in the Indian subcontinent as part of its ambitious space program, whose objectives are to develop India while pursuing science research and planetary exploration.

Since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has orbited 22 satellites and signed 24 launch contracts with the Indian space agency. It has also won 89% of the geostationary orbit launch contracts opened to non-Indian launch vehicles.

The orbiting of GSAT-31 – along with GSAT-30, which is an additional geostationary satellite to be lofted soon by the European launch services provider, Arianespace – marks another vivid demonstration of the strong bond uniting Europe and India in space cooperation.

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