by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Dec 21, 2012
On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, Arianespace successfully carried out the 53rd Ariane 5 launch in a row, orbiting two payloads: the Skynet 5D military communications satellite for Astrium Services, on behalf of the British Ministry of Defence, and the Mexsat Bicentenario telecommunications satellite for the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transport.
Today's successful mission, the 53rd in a row for the European launcher in ten years, once again proves the reliability and availability of the Ariane 5 launch system.
This successful mission, the seventh for Ariane 5 in 2012 also perfectly illustrates the strategic importance of Ariane, which guarantees independent access to space for Europe. Arianespace continues to confirm its position as the world's benchmark launch system for all telecommunications operators, whether civil or military.
10 tons of performance
10 launches in 2012
In 2012 these three launchers orbited a total of 17 satellites for 15 different customers, with a cumulated payload weight exceeding 75,000 kg.
The company's Euro-Russian subsidiary, Starsem, also carried out a Soyuz launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
A launch for civil and military telecommunications
Mexsat Bicentenario is the fifth Mexican satellite to be launched by Ariane, following Satmex 3, 4, 5 and 6 (previously known as the Morelos and Solidaridad satellites).
Skynet 5D/Mexsat Bicentenario mission at a glance
Skynet 5D was launched on behalf of Astrium Services, which will provide secure telecommunications services to the British Ministry of Defence, NATO and other countries which already use the Skynet family of military communications satellites.
Built by Astrium Satellites, Skynet 5D weighed about 4,800 kg at launch. It is based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, and will offer a design life of approximately 15 years from its orbital position at 53 degrees East. Skynet 5D is the 89th Astrium satellite to be launched by Arianespace.
Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia, Mexsat Bicentenario is based on a GEOStar-3 platform. It weighed about 3,000 kg at liftoff, and will be positioned in geostationary orbit at 114.9 degrees West.
Equipped with eight C-band and eight Ku-band transponders, it will provide telecommunications services across Mexico. Mexsat Bicentenario is the 23rd satellite built by Orbital Sciences Corporation to be launched by Arianespace.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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