Arianespace orbits ASTRA 5B and Amazonas 4A satellites
On Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 22:04 UTC, Arianespace carried out the 59th successful Ariane 5 launch in a row, orbiting two telecommunications satellites: ASTRA 5B for the Luxembourg-based operator SES, and Amazonas 4A for the Spanish operator Hispasat. ASTRA 5B also hosts an EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) payload for the European Commission.
59th successful launch in a row: Arianespace continues to deliver the world’s most reliable launch service!
Today’s successful mission, the 59th in a row for Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher, confirms that Arianespace continues to set the standard for guaranteed access to space for all operators, whether national or international space agencies, private industry or governments.
Following the announcement of the orbital injection of the Astra 5B and Amazonas 4A satellites, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “Today’s successful launch, the 59th in a row for Ariane 5, confirms the unrivaled reliability and availability of the European launcher. We take particular pride in being able to offer this service excellence to two leading European operators, SES and Hispasat, both long-standing customers of Arianespace, as well as the European Commission, which has an EGNOS satellite navigation payload integrated on the ASTRA 5B satellite. I would like to thank our customers for continuing to place their trust in us. For Arianespace and our family of the Ariane, Soyuz and Vega launchers, the watchword in 2014 will be ‘Europe’, following the launch of Athena-Fidus on February 6, a French-Italian spacecraft that meets both defense and homeland security requirements, and leading up to flagship programs deployed by the European Commission (Copernicus and Galileo) and the European Space Agency (ATV and IXV). In addition, I would also like to express my thanks to Airbus Defence & Space, as the industrial prime contractor for Ariane 5, to the rest of the European space industry, the teams at the Guiana Space Center, and our partners at CNES for today’s magnificent success.”
A launch for two leading European operators
Arianespace and SES have developed an exceptional relationship over the last 25 years, starting with the launch of ASTRA 1A. ASTRA 5B is the 39th satellite from the SES group (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Bourse: SESG) to use Europe’s launcher. 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.
Built by Airbus Space & Defense using a Eurostar 3000 L platform, ASTRA 5B weighed 5,724 kg at launch. It is fitted with 60 active Ku and Ka-band transponders, and will be positioned at 31.5 degrees East. The ASTRA 5B satellite will provide DTH television broadcast, cable distribution and digital terrestrial television (DTTV) network services in Europe and Africa. It also hosts an L-band payload for the European geostationary navigation overlay system, EGNOS. ASTRA 5B offers a design life of about 15 years, and is the 107th satellite built by Airbus Defence & Space to be launched by Arianespace.
Amazonas 4A is the eighth Spanish satellite launched by Arianespace, and the sixth for Hispasat. Three of the four Amazonas satellites, which support the operator’s expansion in South America, were launched by Ariane 5.
Amazonas 4A was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation using a GeoStar-2 platform, and weighed 2,938 kg at launch. It is equipped with 24 active Ku-band transponders. This satellite will provide a broad range of telecommunications services across all of South America, in particular addressing the growth in demand expected because of the 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, both organized in Brazil. It has a design life of 15 years, and is the 25th satellite built by Orbital Sciences Corporation to be launched by Arianespace.
The ASTRA 5B/Amazonas 4A 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 Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 7:04 pm local time in Kourou (6:04 pm in Washington, D.C., 22:04 UTC, and 11:04 pm in Paris).
This was the 217th Ariane launch. Airbus Defence & Space is the industrial prime contractor for Ariane launch vehicles. The Ariane 5 ECA used on this mission boosted 9,468 kg into geostationary transfer orbit, including 8,662 kg for the two satellites.