Arianespace VA221 launches satellites for the United States and India
Arianespace has successfully launched two telecommunications satellites, DIRECTV-14 for the operator DIRECTV, and GSAT-16 for ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organisation. The 63rd successful Ariane 5 launch in a row took place on December 6 at 5:40 pm (local time) from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Having orbited nearly 65% of all commercial satellites to date in 2014, Arianespace clearly sets the standard in launch services for all manufacturers and operators.
A launch that symbolizes the long term relationship established by Arianespace and leading operators for over 20 years
The DIRECTV-14 satellite will provide direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcasting services in HD (high definition) and 4K Ultra HD in North America, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. It is the seventh satellite to be launched by Arianespace with a payload for DIRECTV, and also the 46th satellite built by Space Systems/Loral to be orbited by Arianespace.
GSAT-16, a multi-band, multi-application telecommunications satellite, will cover the entire Indian sub-continent. It is the 18th ISRO satellite to be launched by Arianespace, starting with the Apple experimental satellite in 1981. Arianespace has also launched two other Indian-designed satellites, for the operators Eutelsat and Avanti Communications.
Commercial launch services leader sets new annual payload record
With this latest launch, Arianespace has set a new annual record for payload weight, with all launchers in its family orbiting a total of 74.3 metric tons in 2014 (versus 52.2 in 2013 and 74.1 in 2012).
Arianespace also confirms its position as the leader in commercial launches into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), with nearly 65% of the market. At December 4, 2014, Arianespace had orbited nine out of the 14 commercial geostationary satellites launched during the year.
Shortly after the announcement that the satellites had been injected into orbit, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: “Tonight, we are very proud of meeting the expectations of these two loyal customers, whose diversity clearly reflects our clientele: DIRECTV is a private operator based in the United States that provides direct-to-home broadcast services, while ISRO is a state agency and public operator, in charge of a wide range of satcom applications for the benefit of Indian citizens. I would like to thank both of these prestigious organizations for continuing to place their trust in us, launch after launch, which encourages us to constantly improve our services.
“I would also like to thank everybody who contributed to Arianespace’s tenth successful launch of the year: the joint venture Airbus Safran Launchers and its European partners, who all contribute to this launcher’s exceptional reliability; our partner CNES-CSG and everybody at the spaceport, for their record-setting availability since the beginning of the year; and of course all of Arianespace’s own teams, whose dedication is only equaled by their excellence across the board.”