Monday, April 27, 2015

Arianespace Launches Thor 7 and Sicral 2 Satellites

Arianespace’s workhorse Ariane 5 launcher lifts off from French Guiana on its 64th consecutive successful mission, which deployed the THOR 7 and SICRAL 2 satellites. Credit: Arianespace

Arianespace has successfully launched two telecommunications satellites: Thor 7 for the private Norwegian operator Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc), and Sicral 2 for the operator Telespazio, on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Defense and the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement, part of the Ministry of Defense). Sunday's launch, the third of the year for Arianespace and the 64th successful launch in a row by Ariane 5, took place at 5:00 pm local time from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana. "Arianespace is very proud of having successfully carried out this dual mission today: launching the Thor 7 satellite for the private operator Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, to bolster its position in maritime and offshore communications, and also launching the Sicral 2 satellite for French and Italian armed forces, who will use it to increase their secure communications capacity with theaters of operation," said Stéphane Israël, Arianespace Chairman and CEO.

Ariane 5 delivered an estimated total lift performance of 9,850 kg., including its two passengers and hardware for the launcher’s dual-payload deployment system. This mission – designated VA222 in Arianespace’s numbering system – was the 222nd launch of an Ariane-series vehicle since 1979, and the 64th consecutive success for Ariane 5, as well as its 78th flight overall.

Thor 7 will provide TV broadcasting services for central and eastern Europe, along with broadband communications for the maritime industry, and spotbeams for the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Red Sea, Baltic Sea, Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean.

“I am delighted to see that Thor 7 has safely reached geostationary transfer orbit and thank both Arianespace and our manufacturing partner SSL for this successful launch”, said Morten Tengs, CEO, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting. “From its 1°West location, the Thor 7 satellite will provide growth capacity for DTH services across Central and Eastern Europe and deliver optimal satellite coverage across Europe’s business shipping lanes for the provision of maritime VSAT services.”

Sicral 2 will provide strategic and tactical communications links for the French and Italian armed forces, as well as additional telecom capacity for NATO countries. That makes Sicral 2 a fundamental element in a common European security policy, which must count on a spaceborne component.

"Telespazio is pleased to have contributed to the success of the Sicral 2 mission of the Italian Ministry of Defence and the French DGA", said the CEO of Telespazio Luigi Pasquali. "As with previous missions of the Sicral programme, the company handled the implementation of the ground segment and managed the satellite's delicate phases of launch and putting into orbit, confirming a long tradition of excellence in the field of space operations. For Sicral 2 as well, Telespazio invested directly in the programme, and will therefore have access to part of this satellite's capacity, in order to provide communications services to the armed forces of NATO countries."

The next Arianespace mission is planned for May, using another Ariane 5 to orbit the DirecTV-15 and SKY Mexico-1 satellites.

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