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Ariane 5 May 27, 2015

Arianespace launches two commercial satellites for the Americas on Ariane 5

On its fourth launch of the year, the second with Ariane 5, Arianespace successfully launched two direct TV broadcast satellites for high definition and 4K ultra high definition services: DIRECTV 15, for the operator DIRECTV, and SKYM-1 for the operator SKY Mexico, a new customer part of DIRECTV Group, serving the Latin American market.

Arianespace’s fourth launch of the year took place today at 06:16 pm local time from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.
The second Ariane 5 mission of the year reflects the ongoing confidence of major operators in the exceptional performance and reliability of the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launch vehicle in the Arianespace family.

Dedicated to HD and 4K Ultra HD services for the Americas

Built by Airbus Defence and Space, DIRECTV 15 is the most powerful direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcast satellite in the United States. It will offer new 4K ultra-high definition direct TV broadcast services to customers in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Built by Orbital ATK, SKYM-1 is a direct TV broadcast satellite for SKY Mexico, member of the DIRECTV family, the leading provider of pay television services in Mexico. SKYM-1 will provide high-definition DTH services for Mexico, Central America and the Carribbean. It offers a design life in orbit of 15 years.

Twenty-two years ago, Arianespace launched the first DIRECTV satellite, DBS-1. The satellites launched today, DIRECTV 15 and SKYM-1, are the eighth and ninth satellites launched by Arianespace for DIRECTV. Arianespace has one more DIRECTV satellite to be launched, SKY Brasil-1.

Arianespace a leader in the U.S. launch services market

With this latest launch for operators based in the Americas, Arianespace consolidates its leadership in the U.S., based on:

  • 82 geostationary and 69 non-geostationary satellites launched for U.S. operators and U.S. customers.
  • 169 satellites launched by Arianespace were built in the U.S.
  • 70% market share for Arianespace of the commercial geostationary satellites to be launched for U.S. operators.

Mission facts & figures

  • 65th successful Ariane 5 mission in a row
  • 508th and 509th satellites launched by Arianespace
  • 264th launch by the Arianespace family of launchers.

Shortly after the announcement that the two satellites had been injected into orbit, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “Arianespace is very proud of having orbited two DTH satellites this evening, on our fourth mission of the year, for operators and customers in the Americas.

“I would like to thank our customers, DIRECTV for their continued confidence after the successful launches of DLA-1 and DIRECTV-14 in 2014, and SKY Mexico, member of the DIRECTV family, which entrusted us and Ariane 5 with the launch of its first satellite. Congratulations as well to the two satellite manufacturers, Airbus Defence and Space for DIRECTV 15 and Orbital ATK for SKYM-1.

“And of course I would like to thank all European companies who contribute to the production of this remarkable launch vehicle, under the direction of our prime Airbus Safran Launchers. Thanks to ESA, contracting authority for the Ariane program, and French space agency CNES, as well as all companies and teams operating at the Guiana Space Center, who worked so hard to ensure this 65th consecutive launch success of Ariane 5. I would also like to congratulate the Arianespace’s teams, whose commitment and professionalism have allowed us to extend the successes of 2014 into 2015.”

DirecTV 15

Built by Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, using a Eurostar-3000 platform, DIRECTV 15 weighed 6,200 kg at launch. It will operate from five different orbital positions: 99.2° or 102.8° West in Ka-band, and 101°, 110° or 119° in Ku band. DIRECTV 15 offers a design life of approximately 15 years. DIRECTV 15 is the 111th payload built by Airbus Defence and Space to be launched by Arianespace.


SKYM-1 was built by Orbital ATK using a GEOStar-2.4E platform. It weighed 3,000 kg at launch and will be positioned at 78.8° West, with a design life of 15 years. SKYM-1 is the 26th satellite built by Orbital ATK to be launched by Arianespace

DirecTV 15/SKYM-1 mission at a glance

The launch was carried out from launch complex No. 3 (ELA 3) at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at:

  • 6:16 pm, local time, on Wednesday, May 27, 2015;
  • 2:16pm, in Los Angeles time;
  • 4:16pm, in Mexico time 9:16 UTC;
  • 11:16 pm in Paris.

On the 223rd Ariane mission, the Ariane 5 ECA launcher carried a total payload of 9,960 kg, including 9,200 kg for the two satellites, injected into their targeted orbits.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company, providing innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 20 shareholders and the European Space Agency, the company offers an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. Arianespace is the only operator in the world capable of launching any mass to any orbit from the Guiana Space Center. As of May 27, 2015, 223 Ariane launches, 37 Soyuz launches (10 at the Guiana Space Centre and 26 at Baikonur with Starsem) and four Vega launches have been performed. The company’s headquarters is in Evry, near Paris, and has local offices in Washington DC (United States), Tokyo (Japan) and Singapore.

Lancement VA 223 : avec Ariane 5, Arianespace a lancé avec succès deux satellites commerciaux pour le continent américain
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