Ariane Flight VA231

with Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18


Launch vehicle
Ariane 5 ECA
Launch date
October 5, 2016
Sky Muster™ II, GSAT-18
nbn, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Prime contractor(s)
SSL, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Launch site
Spaceport, French Guiana (Guiana Space Center)
Geostationary transfer orbit (GTO)


For its eighth mission of 2016, and the year’s fifth Ariane 5 launch from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, Arianespace will orbit two satellites: Sky Muster™ II for the Australian operator nbn (National Broadband Network), and GSAT-18 for the Indian space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).

Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18 are the 542nd and 543rd satellites to be launched by Arianespace.

This Ariane 5 flight will be the 280th mission by the Arianespace launcher family.

Between 05:30 p.m. and 06:45 p.m.
Between 04:30 p.m. and 05:45 p.m.
Washington D.C.
Between 20:30 and 21:45
Universal Time (UTC)
Between 10:30 p.m. and 11:45 a.m.


Sky Muster™ II


Sky Muster™ II will be the second satellite launched by Arianespace for the Australian operator nbn owned by the Commonwealth of Australia, after the first Sky Muster™ spacecraft orbited in September 2015.

Sky Muster™ II reflects the country’s political commitment to bridging the digital divide, especially in the rural and isolated regions of Australia. This new satellite will help extend high-speed internet to the entire country, including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands, in conjunction with the services already delivered by Sky Muster™ I.

Sky Muster™ II will be the eighth satellite that Arianespace has launched for Australia, following Aussat 3, Optus C1/D1/D2/D3 and 10, and Sky Muster™ I.

Built by SSL (Space Systems Loral) in Palo Alto, California using a 1300 platform, Sky Muster™ II will be the 59th SSL satellite to be orbited by Arianespace – which has four more satellites from this manufacturer in its order book.



GSAT-18 will be the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace. Since the launch of the Apple experimental satellite on Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has won 86% of the geostationary orbit launch contracts that the country has opened to non-Indian launch systems.

Built by ISRO, GSAT 18 will provide telecommunications services for India, strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites.

ISRO fosters the use of space to help develop the Indian subcontinent. It focuses on all types of space applications, including Earth observation, telecommunications, broadcasts of educational programs, science and navigation.

The long-standing strategic partnership between ISRO and Arianespace reflects the strong relationship between India and France in the space sector.

After choosing Arianespace to launch its GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 satellites in 2015, ISRO selected Arianespace most recently to launch its GSAT-11 satellite. GSAT-17 and GSAT-11 will be orbited by 2017.

and flight

  • Start of final countdown
  • Check of electrical systems
  • Start of filling of EPC with liquid oxygen and hydrogen
  • Start of filling of ESC-A with liquid oxygen and hydrogen
  • show the countdown
  • Liftoff
  • show the countdown
  • Sky MusterTM II satellite separation
  • SYLDA separation
  • GSAT-18 satellite separation
  • End of the Arianespace commercial mission
  • End of the Arianespace mission
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