Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ariane 5 Rocket Launches EUTELSAT 65 West A Satellite into Space

Ariane 5 rocket launches EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite into space. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

Arianespace has successfully launched the EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite for Eutelsat Communications. The company’s second launch of the year took place on March 9 at 2:20 am (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana. This was the 71st successful launch in a row for the Ariane 5 heavy launcher. The company’s second mission of the year keeps Arianespace on schedule to meet its objective of up to 12 launches in 2016, including eight Ariane 5 missions.

Shortly after the announcement of the orbital injection of EUTELSAT 65 West A, Arianespace Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “Arianespace has just launched its 525th satellite this evening. We are both pleased and proud of having performed this launch for Eutelsat, the European operator who has been our partner since we both started operations in the early 1980s, with French Higher Education and Research Minister Thierry Mandon seeing the launch in person. I would like to thank Eutelsat for its ongoing confidence, and especially Michel de Rosen as he leaves his position in the company’s operational management, which now is entrusted to Rodolphe Belmer.

I am also delighted to see Ariane 5 continue its extraordinary career with its 71st successful launch in a row. I would like to thank the teams in charge of Ariane 5 production under the leadership of industrial prime, Airbus Safran Launchers. I would also like to thank ESA, as Ariane program authority, our partner CNES-CSG and the personnel at the launch base, who provide continued support for our ongoing success, and of course all Arianespace staff, who are fully committed to setting another new operational record in 2016.”

Arianespace has worked side-by-side with Eutelsat since 1983, when it launched the Eutelsat-1 F1 satellite. Eutelsat is one of the world’s leading operators of telecommunications satellites. With a fleet of 40 satellites, Eutelsat sells transmission capacity to a large portfolio of customers, including broadcasters, broadcasting associations, TV channels, video, data and Internet service providers, businesses and government entities.

Including EUTELSAT 65 West A, Arianespace has now launched more than half of Eutelsat’s satellites. Three more Eutelsat satellites will be launched by Arianespace, making this operator one of its biggest commercial customers.

“We fully enjoyed this,” said Rodolphe Belmer, who earlier in the month succeeded Michel de Rosen as Eutelsat’s Chief Executive Officer. “It was for me the first launch as CEO of Eutelsat, so as you could imagine, it was a very intense moment – and a great success!”

EUTELSAT 65 West A is a tri-band satellite that will cover Latin America and Brazil.

The satellite is based on the highly reliable SSL 1300 platform, which provides high power and the flexibility to support a broad range of applications and technology advances. The satellite, which is designed to provide service for 15 years or more, will be located at 65° West longitude. With this launch, there are 81 SSL-built GEO satellites currently on orbit.

“It has been our pleasure to work closely with Eutelsat to design, build and launch this multi-mission satellite that includes some very advanced capabilities,” said John Celli, president of Space Systems Loral (SSL). “I would like to thank and congratulate the teams from Eutelsat, Arianespace and SSL who worked hard to make this satellite a success.”

The satellite’s Ku-band coverage will spur the growth of direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcasts for households equipped with dish antennas to receive digital and HD (high-definition) channels. It will also boost the connectivity of businesses located in Central America, the Caribbean, the Andes region and Brazil. Its C-band transatlantic coverage is designed to provide contribution links and video distribution services. The satellite’s Ka-band multibeam payload will help the operator develop Internet access services throughout Latin America, especially in Brazil.

In 2016, one-third of the geostationary satellites launched by Arianespace will be tasked with providing services for the Americas, a region where the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio represent a significant growth factor.

In carrying out the year’s second Ariane 5 by early March, Arianespace is well placed to meet its objective of up to eight Ariane 5 launches in 2016. Arianespace has already performed two single launches this year (orbiting Intelsat 29e, and now EUTELSAT 65 West A), and has scheduled five dual launches plus an Ariane 5 ES launch for the Galileo satellite navigation system that will carry four satellites.

Arianespace will round out the year with two missions by the Soyuz medium launcher and two by the Vega light launcher, making a total of 12 launches. The European Commission decided to accelerate the deployment of the Galileo constellation by adding a Soyuz launch this spring, given the confirmed availability of satellites built by OHB.

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