200+ satellites launched: Ariane 5 surpasses key milestone on its latest dual-payload success
Telecommunications satellites for two major Arianespace customers – Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and Avanti Communications of the UK – were orbited today on a record-breaking flight for the launch services provider.
Ariane 5 lofted the DSN-1/Superbird-8 and HYLAS 4 payloads from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana during a flight lasting just under 34 minutes, and in doing so, exceeded the 200-mark in the number of satellites launched during its operational career (DSN-1/Superbird-8 is #200; HYLAS 4 is #201).
The heavy-lift workhorse delivered an estimated total lift performance of 10,260 kg. on today’s flight to geostationary transfer orbit injection, which included the two passengers and hardware for its dual-payload deployment system. Designated Flight VA242 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, this mission was the 242nd launch of an Ariane-series vehicle to date, as well as the 83rd Ariane 5 success since 2002.
Another launch at the service of Japan
As the 19th SKY Perfect JSAT satellite entrusted to Arianespace for launch, DSN-1/Superbird-8 – a dual-use relay platform – rode in the upper passenger position on Ariane 5 and was deployed first on today’s flight.
Its Superbird-8 payload uses high-performance Ku- and Ka-band transponders for communications services primarily in the Japanese market. DSN-1 is an X-Band Defense Communications Satellite, in association with the Program to Upgrade and Operate X-Band Satellite Communications Function, for which the DSN Corporation, a subsidiary of SKY Perfect JSAT, has concluded a program contract with Japan’s Ministry of Defense.
“We are proud to help provide civilian and defense satellite communication services for the Japanese market and Japan’s Ministry of Defense,” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël, who provided his post-flight comments from the Spaceport’s mission control center.
Koki Koyama, Board Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer of SKY Perfect JSAT, thanked Arianespace for today’s mission success and noted that his company’s first satellite – JSAT-1 – was launched on an Ariane vehicle in March 1989. “JSAT-1 served many customers and became part of the business foundation of SKY Perfect JSAT,” he said, adding that SKY Perfect JSAT was now looking forward to a long life with DSN-1/Superbird-8 at the service of both civilian and defense ministry operators.
DSN-1/Superbird-8 was produced by MELCO (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation) using a DS2000 platform, with manufacturing management provided by NEC Corporation. It is the third MELCO-built satellite to be launched by Arianespace and will operate from a final orbital position at 162 deg. East Longitude.
Delivering satellite communications across Europe
Completing today’s mission was the deployment of HYLAS 4, which was released from Ariane 5’s lower passenger position. Once it its final orbital slot of 33.5 deg. West Longitude, this platform will deliver high-speed, reliable and secure satellite communications in Ka-band to Internet service providers (ISPs), mobile network operators (MNOs), governments and satellite operators across Europe.
Calling Flight VA242 a “spectacular launch,” David Bestwick, Chief Technical Officer for Avanti Communications, acknowledged Arianespace’s 100 percent mission success rate in support of his company’s operations. “HYLAS 4 is extremely important to Avanti,” Bestwick explained in post launch comments from the Spaceport. “It more than doubles the communications capacity that we have in orbit, and completes our coverage of Africa and the Middle East.”
Arianespace’s Stéphane Israël said that with the launch of Avanti Communications’ high-throughput satellite, Arianespace is proud to help provide services in regions such as West and Central Africa. Produced by Orbital ATK, HYLAS 4’s steerable beams also enable coverage for Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Middle East.
The Arianespace CEO also gave special thanks to Ariane 5 production prime contractor ArianeGroup, the European Space Agency, the French CNES space agency, the ground contractors in French Guiana and his own teams at Arianespace.
The 2018 launch cadence continues
Flight VA242 was Arianespace’s third mission so far this year. Next up in the company’s launch manifest is another with Ariane 5: Flight VA243, which is scheduled to orbit the GSAT-11 and Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 satellites on May 25.