Arianespace orbited a pair of commercial relay satellites for direct television broadcasting services tonight on Ariane 5’s fourth heavy-lift mission of 2011.
During a 38-minute flight from the Spaceport in French Guiana, this workhorse vehicle lofted the ASTRA 1N and BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R spacecraft, delivering an estimated payload lift performance to geostationary transfer orbit of 9,095 kg. – which included a combined mass of 8,240 kg. for the two satellites, along with the launcher’s dual-payload dispenser system and associated integration hardware.It marked the 203rd flight of an Ariane since the family of European-developed commercial launchers began operation in 1979, and was the 59th launch of an Ariane 5.
The precision of Ariane 5 was demonstrated once again tonight, highlighting the on-target repeatability of this vehicle. The estimated orbital parameters at its cryogenic upper stage’s injection were:
- Perigee: 249.7 km. for a target of 249.7 km.
- Apogee: 35,957 km. for a target of 35,952 km.
- Inclination: 2.01 deg. for a target of 2.00 deg.
ASTRA 1N was deployed first during the mission, and marked the 11th satellite launched for SES ASTRA by Arianespace – and the 34th entrusted to the company by the SES group.
Fitted with 52 active Ku-band transponders, ASTRA 1N was built by EADS Astrium based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, and had an estimated liftoff mass of 5,350 kg. It initially is to deliver interim capacity from an orbital position of 28.2 deg. East, and subsequently will move to SES ASTRA’s prime location at 19.2 deg. East for primary and backup services during a designed operational lifetime of 15 years.
Ariane Spaceflight number 203 lifting off from Kourou