On Thursday, July 25, Arianespace carried out the 56th successful Ariane 5 launch in a row, orbiting two satellites: the Alphasat mobile telecommunications satellite for the operator Inmarsat, and the INSAT-3D meteorological satellite for ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).
Third Ariane 5 launch in 2013, 56th success in a row
Today’s successful mission, the 56th in a row for the European launcher, once again proves the reliability and availability of the Ariane 5 launch system. It also confirms that Arianespace continues to set the standard for guaranteed access to space for all operators, including national and international space agencies, private industry and governments. Following the announcement of the orbital injection of the Alphasat and INSAT-3D satellites, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “The 70th launch of Ariane 5 confirms the unequaled reliability of our launcher, which clearly sets Arianespace apart. Ariane 5 launcher has just orbited the largest telecommunications satellite ever built in Europe for our customer Inmarsat, and I would like to thank them for their ongoing trust.
This technological success is the result of an exemplary partnership between European industry, ESA and CNES. We also orbited a meteorology satellite for the Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO. I would like to express my thanks to ISRO for placing their trust in us for more than 30 years. Each of these satellites will drive progress in the management of crises and emergency situations, reflecting how systems up in space benefit citizens down on Earth. And this is all made possible by the reliability and availability of the launch solutions that Arianespace provides to all of our customers.”
A launch for two long-standing customers, Inmarsat and ISRO
Arianespace provides the launch services that best match the requirements of all operators. The long-standing relationship of mutual trust between Arianespace and Inmarsat reaches back to the launch of the first Inmarsat satellites. The British company has chosen Arianespace to launch eight of its satellites to date. INSAT-3D is the 16th ISRO satellite launched by Ariane since the experimental satellite Apple, launched on Flight L03 in 1981. Arianespace has also launched two other Indian-designed satellites, for the operators Eutelsat and Avanti Communications. ISRO’s 17th satellite, the GSAT-7 telecommunications satellite, will be launched on Ariane 5’s next mission, VA215, scheduled for August 29. The collaboration between ISRO and Arianespace has been extended to include technological development aid for launcher operation.
Alphasat/INSAT-3D 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 Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm local time in Kourou (3:54 pm in Washington, D.C., 19:54 UT, 9:54 pm in Paris, and on Friday, July 26 at 1:24 am in Bangalore). Alphasat was designed and built by Astrium and weighed 6,650 kg at liftoff. The Alphasat satellite is the result of a public-private partnership agreement between Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of mobile satellite services, and the European Space Agency (ESA), with support from French space agency CNES, to produce and launch the first satellite based on the new European platform, Alphabus, developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. The platform is being used on this mission to deliver commercial services and provide in-orbit validation of the most advanced space communications technologies developed in Europe.
Alphasat will deliver advanced voice and data transmission services across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, for both commercial and government customers. INSAT-3D: designed, developed and integrated by ISRO in Bangalore, southern India, the INSAT-3D meteorological satellite weighed 2,200 kg at launch, and offers a design life exceeding seven years. INSAT-3D features a 6-channel imager, data relay transponders (DRT), sounder and a weather warning payload with a cyclone warning dissemination system (CWDS), activated during cyclone season, and a satellite-aided search and rescue (Sasar) system, which relays emergency messages to local terminals. Positioned at 82 degrees East, its coverage zone encompasses the entire Indian subcontinent.