Ariane 5 ECA dual launches with Superbird-7 and AMC-21

by Chris Bergin

Arianespace’s continued push to dominate the launch service industry has taken another step forward on Thursday, with the dual payload launch of their Ariane 5 ECA vehicle – carrying Superbird-7 and AMC-21 from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. is covering the launch as a live event, with background, live updates and images, plus a free launch video – all available now on the links below (read more).

**Ariane 5 ECA/AMC-21/Superbird-7 – Live Update Pages**

**FREE Ariane 5 ECA/AMC-21/Superbird-7 Launch Video** – available now.
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Launch Preview:

The launch is the fifth Ariane 5 of 2008 – following previous successes in March, April, June and July – which orbited a total of six telecommunications satellites, along with the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to the International Space Station (ISS). Seven launches planned in total, the busiest year so far for the company.

For this latest mission – the 41st for an Ariane 5 – the launcher’s heavy-lift performance will be approximately 8,100 kg. – which includes more than 7,270 kg. for its two satellite payloads, along with their integration hardware and the SYLDA 5 multiple satellite dispenser system.

AMC-21 will be operated by U.S.-based satellite services provider SES AMERICOM, and is to handle television and enterprise distribution services. The spacecraft was supplied by prime contractor Thales Alenia Space, and utilizes a STAR-2 spacecraft manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

In addition to providing comprehensive service over the 50 U.S. states, AMC-21 also will offer high-power coverage for the Gulf of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

After its launch by Ariane 5, AMC-21 will be positioned at 125 deg. West for a design operational lifetime of 15 years.

Arianespace has served the launch needs of SES and its predecessor companies for nearly 25 years, beginning with the Spacenet 1 satellite – which was orbited on the first ever Arianespace mission in May, 1984.

AMC-21 will be the lower passenger, with the upper component consists of Japan’s Superbird-7 satellite and the SYLDA 5 payload dispenser – both of which are encapsulated in Ariane 5’s long payload fairing.
The Japanese Superbird 7 satellite for Space Communications Corporation has entered final pre-launch preparations for its heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission from the Spaceport in French Guiana during August.

This first ‘made in Japan’ commercial satellite for a Japanese telecommunications operator has completed its fueling process, and is now installed on the cone-shaped adapter that serves as the interface with its Ariane 5 ECA.

Superbird 7 will be orbited along with SES AMERICOM’s AMC-21 satellite on the fifth Ariane 5 mission of 2008.  Built by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation on the company’s DS2000 spacecraft bus, Superbird 7 carries a Ku-band relay payload and will be positioned at an orbital slot of 144 degrees East.

It will be the successor to Space Communications Corporation’s current Superbird-C satellite, and is to provide a wide range of telecommunications services for the Tokyo-based operator with the spacecraft’s enhanced performance.

Re-live the launch updates on the live event pages, linked above.

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