Arianespace have launched their Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle, with the dual satellite payload of ASTRA 1L and Galaxy 17. Lift-off was 11:29pm (UK time) from the Kourou Spaceport in French Guiana. Thursday’s first attempt was scrubbed due to high winds.
After just over 30 minutes, both payloads were seperated from the upper stage, concluding their ride on the ninth successful Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle. A free launch video is available on the link below (read more).
**Free launch video** – Free to all forum members (registration is free – we do not use your e-mail for spam, only to send you your forum password – which is automated). A full length, high quality (over 130mb) video of the launch is available on L2.
‘Astra 1L is the ninth satellite we have launched for SES Astra and the 26th for the SES family. Just last December, we orbited AMC-18, and now – five months later – it was Astra 1L’s turn. In addition, we will launch AMC-21 next year.
‘More than 60 percent of Intelsat satellites have been launched by Arianespace, and this fall, we will launch two more satellites for Intelsat. I want to thank Intelsat for the confidence it has had in our company from the very beginning.’
ASTRA-1L will carry 29 active Ku band transponders used to provide distribution of direct-to-home broadcast services across Europe as well as a 2-transponder Ka band payload for interactive applications. ASTRA 1L is expected to provide 15 years of design life and will ensure further fleet optimization by allowing the release of ASTRA 2C from its current location of 19.2 degrees East. Furthermore, it will reinforce SES ASTRA’s inter satellite back-up concept.
ASTRA 1L is the 15th A2100 series spacecraft designed, built and launched for SES companies by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is currently building AMC-14 for SES AMERICOM, which is scheduled to be launched in December 2007. ASTRA 1L also marks the first of five A2100 launches this year.
The Lockheed Martin A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft series is designed to meet a wide variety of telecommunications needs including Ka-band broadband and broadcast services, fixed satellite services in C-band and Ku-band, high-power direct broadcast services using the Ku-band frequency spectrum and mobile satellite services using UHF, L-band, and S-band payloads.
The A2100’s modular design features a reduction in parts, simplified construction, increased on-orbit reliability and reduced weight and cost.
The A2100 spacecraft’s design accommodates a large range of communication payloads as demonstrated by the 30 spacecraft successfully flown to date. This design modularity also enables the A2100 spacecraft to be configured for missions other than communication. The A2100 design is currently being adapted for geostationary earth orbit (GEO)-based earth observing missions and is currently the baselined platform for Lockheed Martin’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Series-R (GOES-R) proposal.
The 4,100-kg. Galaxy 17 spacecraft is to be released from the launch vehicle approximately six minutes later.
Galaxy 17 is fitted with 24 Ku-band and 24 C-band transponders, and will provide television and telephony services in North America for the global operator Intelsat. Based on a Spacebus 3000 B3 platform, it has beginning-of-life electrical power of about 9.5 kW.
Intelsat is the largest provider of fixed satellite services worldwide. It enables providers of media, telecom and government services to deliver information and entertainment to people at home, in the office or on the move.
This is the first launch under the prime contractorship of Thales Alenia Space, which is a major supplier on 15 launches this year. This includes seven communications satellites, three observation satellites, two communications payloads. one scientific payload, eight first-generation Globalstar satellites and three modules for the International Space Station.
This launch is the second of what is targeted to be a launch rate of six missions in 2007, which will be boosted to a stabilized capability of eight heavy-lift flights annually from 2009, which is to provide approximately 16 payload slots per year for Arianespace customers.