Galaxy 14 satellite makes orbit

by Chris Bergin

Starsem and Arianespace today successfully launched the Galaxy 14 telecommunications satellite for U.S. operator PanAmSat today, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The 1,699th launch of a Soyuz family launch vehicle took place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz-Fregat launcher version lifted off as scheduled at 5:28 a.m. local time on Saturday.
Starsem, Arianespace and their Russian partners confirmed that the launcher’s Fregat upper stage accurately injected Galaxy 14 into the targeted geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). To achieve the mission, two successive burns of the Fregat upper stage were performed, placing the Galaxy 14 spacecraft on its transfer orbit 1 hour and 37 minutes after lift-off.

To comply with PanAmSat’s requirements, Arianespace and Starsem decided that the launch of Galaxy 14 – initially planned on an Ariane 5 – would be performed by a Soyuz vehicle. This transfer was made possible with the launcher family concept developed by Arianespace and Starsem, which provides the maximum responsiveness to customers’ needs.

With a liftoff mass of approximately 2,000 kg., Galaxy 14 is the second in a series of new-generation satellites ordered by PanAmSat from Orbital Sciences Corporation to provide additional power, greater flexibility and service availability to its customers. This all C-band spacecraft is designed to deliver digital video programming, high-definition television (HDTV), VOD and IPTV service throughout the continental U.S. Galaxy 14 is equipped with 24 C-band transponders, and will join the Galaxy 12 spacecraft at 125° West – one of PanAmSat’s key orbital positions for the North American continent.

Galaxy 14 is the 19th satellite orbited by the Arianespace family of launchers for PanAmSat. PanAmSat began operations in the late 1980s with its first spacecraft, PAS-1, which was orbited in June 1988 on the maiden flight of Arianespace’s Ariane 4 launcher.

Today’s latest success for Soyuz with Galaxy 14 clearly reflects the industrial capabilities of the Samara Space Center (prime contractor for the Soyuz launcher), as well as the availability of the Russian teams in charge of Soyuz operations, which are managed by the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.

Starsem is responsible for international marketing of the Soyuz launch vehicle, as well as for its operation. Starsem’s shareholders are Arianespace, EADS, the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and the Samara Space Center.

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