Arianespace orbits five earth observation satellites for Peru and new operator Terra Bella, marking Vega’s 7th successful launch in a row
Arianespace has successfully launched the PerúSAT-1 satellite, within the scope of a contract with Airbus Defence and Space for the Peruvian space agency CONIDA, and the SkySat-4 to -7 satellites for American operator Terra Bella, a Google company.
The launch took place on September 15 at 10:43:35 pm local time from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.
Designated Flight VV07, this was Arianespace’s seventh launch of the year and also the seventh consecutive successful launch by Vega, the latest member of the Arianespace launcher family, introduced at the Guiana Space Center in 2012. Vega is especially well suited to the dynamic Earth observation market. With this launch it starts full-fledged commercial operation, and already has nine future launches in its order book.
Launch services tailored to the dynamic Earth observation market
With its complete family of three launch vehicles, Arianespace can launch any type of Earth observation or meteorology satellite. Arianespace already has launched 59 satellites for these markets, and fully one-fourth of its future launches also target these applications.
Today’s launch orbited five new Earth observation satellites.
PerúSAT-1 is Peru’s first Earth observation satellite. Ordered within the scope of an agreement between the Peruvian and French governments, this launch was carried out under a turnkey contract with Airbus Defence and Space for the Peruvian space agency CONIDA.
PerúSAT-1 is a powerful optical observation satellite featuring very high resolution (0.7 meters). It will operate from Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 695 km. and will acquire images from across the planet.
SkySats-4, 5, 6 and 7 are the first four satellites launched by Arianespace for its new customer Terra Bella, a Google company that is a commercial operator of Earth observation satellites.
Injected into Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km., they will provide very-high-resolution (less than one meter) maps of the entire planet.
Arianespace and Airbus Defence and Space
PerúSAT-1 is the 115th satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space to be launched by Arianespace.
The Arianespace order book includes 13 other satellites from this manufacturer, along with an order for the OneWeb constellation (which will be composed of more than 600 satellites).
Arianespace and SSL
Designed by Terra Bella, the Skysat-4 to -7 satellites were manufactured by SSL (Space Systems Loral) using a dedicated SkySat platform that was produced in SSL’s Palo Alto, California facility.
SkySats-4 to -7 are the 55th to 58th SSL satellites launched by Arianespace.
The Arianespace order book includes five more geostationary communications satellites built by SSL.
Vega, an operational and commercial success
Vega is a European Space Agency (ESA) program, jointly funded by Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. Avio is the launcher design authority and industrial prime contractor, operating through its Italian subsidiary, ELV (in which the Italian space agency ASI has a 30% stake). Arianespace markets and operates Vega from the Guiana Space Center alongside its two other launchers, Ariane 5 and Soyuz, enabling it to address the full range of market needs.
Vega’s six previous missions prior to today’s Flight VV07 were all carried out for institutional customers (European Space Agency-ESA / European Commission / national space agencies / governments). These six missions, all successful, fully demonstrated the launcher’s operational capabilities and versatility, with missions to low Sun-synchronous orbit (Sentinel-2A), a ballistic trajectory (IXV), and transfer orbit to the Lagrange point L1 (LISA Pathfinder), for a wide variety of applications (Earth observation, science, education, defense). The successful LISA Pathfinder mission for ESA in December 2015 marked the end of the Vega development phase and the start of commercial operation.
There are currently nine Vega missions in Arianespace’s order book, a majority of them for Earth observation. One-third of the backlog is for institutional customers and two-thirds for export customers. The nine missions include two contracts signed in 2016: the CERES mission for French DGA defense procurement agency and French space agency CNES, along with the ADM-Aeolus mission for ESA’s Earth observation directorate.
Arianespace gears up for the future with Vega C
The upgraded Vega C, slated to make its first flight in 2019, will provide a significant performance increase over the current version in terms of payload capacity (weight and volume). This means it will be able to carry out an even wider range of missions, thus improving the launch service competitiveness. Arianespace should be able to start marketing Vega C launches by the end of this year.
Shortly after the announcement that Flight VV07’s five satellites had been injected into orbit, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “With the first Vega launch of 2016, and the seventh since its introduction in the Guiana Space Center, Arianespace has proudly served – on a single mission – both the Peruvian government, through its space agency CONIDA, and the operator Terra Bella, a Google company. We are honored by the confidence entrust-ed in us by Peru and Terra Bella. I would like to thank our long-standing partners, Airbus Defence and Space, our direct customer for PerúSAT-1, and also the manufacturer of this spacecraft; and SSL, manufacturer of the SkySat satellites. I would also like to congratulate the industrial prime contractor, ELV/Avio, for Vega’s excellence and availability, along with the European Space Agency and national space agencies, especially ASI of Italy, for their critical support for the Vega program. And of course thanks to CNES-CSG and all companies and staff at the launch base, always by our side for new successes. Lastly, congratulations to Arianespace’s own teams for this seventh successful launch of the year: launch after launch we make a difference!”
The PerúSAT-1 satellite was built by Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France using its AstroBus-S platform and its NAOMI instrument. PerúSAT-1 weighed 430 kg. at liftoff, and offers a design life of 10 years.
The satellite was injected into Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 675 km. It will be positioned at an operational orbit of 695 km to acquire images of the entire planet.
The SkySat-4, -5, -6 and -7 satellites were designed by Terra Bella and built by SSL (Space Systems Loral) using a dedicated SkySat platform, in Palo Alto, California (United States). Each satellite weighed 110 kg at liftoff. They were placed in Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km, and will provide very-high-resolution (less than one meter) 3D mapping of the entire planet.
To use space for a better life on earth, Arianespace guarantees access to space transportation services and solutions for any type of satellite, commercial as well as institutional, into any orbit. Since 1980, Arianespace has placed more than 500 satellites into orbit with its three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from French Guiana in South America, and from Baikonur, Kazakhstan (central Asia). Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, France near Paris, and has a facility at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.