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Ariane 5 Launches Twin GEO Birds

The Ariane 5 ECA is the latest version of the Ariane 5 launcher. It is designed to place payloads weighing up to 9.6 tonnes into geostationary transfer orbit. With its increased capacity Ariane 5 ECA can handle dual launches of very large satellites.
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) May 04, 2007
On 4 May 2007, an Ariane 5 ECA launcher lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two satellites into geostationary transfer orbits. Lift-off of flight V176 took place at 22:29 GMT/UTC (19:29 local time, 00:29 [5 May] CET/Paris). The satellites were accurately injected into the correct transfer orbits about 30 minutes later.

The payload comprised Astra 1L, a Ku- and Ka-band broadcast services satellite intended for direct-to-home transmissions over continental Europe, and Galaxy 17, a C- and Ku-band television and telephony services satellite that will serve North America. The payload mass was 9402 kg; the satellite masses totalled 8605 kg, with payload adapters and dispensers making up the additional 797 kg. This is a new record for Ariane 5 ECA

This second launch of the year keeps Arianespace and Europe's Spaceport on target to perform six Ariane 5 launches in 2007 as they head towards their target of seven to eight missions per year from 2009.

Flight timeline
The Ariane 5's cryogenic, liquid fuelled, main engine was ignited first. Seven seconds later, the solid fuel rocket boosters were also fired, and a fraction of a second after that, the launch vehicle lifted off.

The solid boosters were jettisoned 2min:20sec after main engine ignition, and the fairing protecting the payload during the climb through the Earth's atmosphere was discarded at 3min:11sec. The launcher's main engine was shut down at 8min:57sec; six seconds later the main cryogenic stage separated from the upper stage and its payload.

Four seconds after main stage separation, the engine of the launcher's cryogenic upper stage was ignited to continue the journey. The upper stage engine was shut down at 24min:58sec into the flight, at which point the launch vehicle was travelling at 9878 metres per second (35 560 km/h) at an altitude of 622.6 kilometres and the conditions for geostationary transfer orbit injection had been achieved.

At 27min:15 sec after main engine ignition, Astra 1L separated from the launcher, followed by Galaxy 17 at 32min:54sec.

earlier related report
Lockheed Martin Marks 32Nd Consecutive A2100 Success With The Launch Of Astra 1L Satellite
The ASTRA 1L broadcasting satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin for SES ASTRA, an SES company, was successfully launched today from Kourou, French Guiana. Lift-off occurred at 6:29 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) aboard an Ariane 5-ECA launch vehicle provided by Arianespace of Evry, France. Initial contact with the satellite, called acquisition of signal, was confirmed at 7:29 p.m. EDT from Lockheed Martin's satellite tracking station in Uralla, Australia.

Built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), Newtown, Pa., ASTRA 1L is the first of five planned A2100 satellite launches this year. The successful launch of ASTRA 1L represents the 32nd launch of an A2100 spacecraft for customers worldwide and all 32 currently are operational. Throughout its nearly 50-year history, LMCSS has launched 90 commercial communications geostationary earth orbit satellites.

"An extraordinary team of dedicated, talented individuals have been focused on delivering the best quality broadcasting spacecraft to our customer SES ASTRA," said LMCSS vice-president and general manager Marshall Byrd.

"We take great pride in achieving mission success for our customer and look forward to delivering another high world-class, high-performance spacecraft that will greatly enhance SES ASTRA's fleet."

ASTRA 1L will be located at orbital location 19.2 degrees East and 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.

"We are very proud and satisfied that the ASTRA 1L launch has been a success," said Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA.

"ASTRA 1L will allow us to move our satellite ASTRA 2C from 19.2 East to 28.2 East to fulfill the high capacity demand from the U.K. and Irish markets. It will also extend the coverage from the Canary Islands in the West to the Russian border in the East and help us to further strengthen our unique in-orbit back-up scheme.

"The success of the ASTRA 1L launch therefore is a milestone for SES ASTRA and shows that we have strengthened the fruitful cooperation with our launch partners, Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems who built the satellite and Arianespace who was responsible for the launch."

ASTRA 1L is the 15th A2100 series spacecraft designed, built and launched for SES companies by Lockheed Martin, including ASTRA-1KR, which was launched in April 2006. Lockheed Martin is currently building SIRIUS 4 for SES SIRIUS and AMC-14 for SES AMERICOM.

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 32 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.

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Arianespace And Japan Continue To Build Long-Term Relationship
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Apr 30, 2007
Japan continues to play a key role in underpinning the commercial launch operations of Arianespace with a growing number of new Japanese commercial payloads to be orbited and launch services cooperation being developed. During a recent visit to Tokyo, Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall underscored the importance of Arianespace's relationship with Japan - which dates back to the company's establishment of an in-country office during 1986, and its launch of the first Japanese commercial satellite in 1989.

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