Arianespace was action again this evening, with the launch of their Ariane 5 ECA vehicle, carrying a dual payload of the ProtoStar-1 and BADR-6 satellites. Launch too place at the opening of the launch window that opens at 5:47pm, from Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana.
NASASpaceflight.com is covered the launch as a live event, with background, live updates, live images and a free launch video – available now on the links below (read more).
**FREE Ariane 5 ECA/ProtoStar-1/BADR-6 Launch Video** – available now
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Arianespace is targeting a total of seven Ariane 5 missions in 2008, which will be the busiest year of activity since the launcher entered commercial service in 1999.
The 184th Ariane mission will launch the two satellites for new operator ProtoStar Ltd and for operator Arabsat. This will be the 40th Ariane 5 launch. The launcher will be carrying a total payload of 8,639 kg, including 7,537 kg for the two satellites, which will be released separately into their targeted orbits.
In its trademark dual-passenger configuration, the heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA will carry ProtoStar I in the upper payload position, with BADR-6 riding below it inside the SLYDA 5 dispenser system.
Space Systems/Loral was able to deliver the ProtoStar-1 satellite a year ahead of schedule. This was because the project involved modifications to an existing satellite, which ProtoStar purchased from its previous owner.
SS/L then tailored the spacecraft to meet the defined power and footprint/coverage requirements of ProtoStar’s customers.
‘Space Systems/Loral has been able to deliver a satellite customized to our requirements in a timely and professional manner,’ said Philip Father, chief executive officer of ProtoStar.
‘We have worked closely with SS/L throughout this project and are very impressed with the passion and commitment of all the engineers and technicians who have been involved.’
The satellite was designed to meet the needs of both emerging and existing direct-to-home (DTH) operators in the Asian market as well as other broadband communication needs in the region.
It is the first in a fleet of multiple satellites ProtoStar plans to launch that will enable its in-country partners to offer advanced satellite television services and powerful two-way broadband Internet access.
The satellite is based on SS/L’s highly reliable, high heritage, 1300 spacecraft bus, which provides the flexibility for a broad range of applications. It will operate in both Ku-band and C-band and is expected to provide more than 15 years of service
BADR-6 was produced jointly by EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, and is based on the Eurostar 2000+ platform.
The BADR-6 spacecraft will be operated by the Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat for video broadcasting services over the Middle East and North Africa regions. BADR-6 will have a liftoff mass of 3,400 kg., and carries a mixed payload of 24 C-band and 20 Ku-band transponders.
The platform is designed for a lifetime of about 15 years, and is to operate from Arabsat’s 26 deg. E geostationary orbital location.
This flight follows the Ariane 5’s June 6 mission, which delivered Skynet 5C and Turksat 3A into highly accurate geostationary transfer orbit on the workhorse vehicle’s 25th consecutive success.
Other Ariane 5 flights performed so far in 2008 were the April 18 dual-payload Ariane 5 ECA mission with Star One C2 and VINASAT-1, and the launch of an Ariane 5 ES version on March 9 with Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for the International Space Station.
The next launch will also be via an Ariane 5 ECA – carrying Superbird 7 and AMC-21. That launch is currently scheduled for August 8.
Re-live the launch updates on the live event pages, linked above.