Headlines > News > Ariane 5 delivers a heavy-lift U.S/Japanese payload on its 33rd mission

Ariane 5 delivers a heavy-lift U.S/Japanese payload on its 33rd mission

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:33 am
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(Arianespace) – Arianespace’s Ariane 5 scored its 19th consecutive mission success today, carrying the dual-satellite payload of SPACEWAYTM 3 and BSAT-3a into accurate geostationary transfer orbit.

Lifting off from the ELA-3 launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport, the heavyweight Ariane 5 ECA deployed SPACEWAY 3 first, releasing this 6,075 kg. spacecraft at approximately 27 minutes into the flight. It was followed about seven minutes later by the 1,980-kg. BSAT-3a.

The mission was another on-time Ariane 5 departure, with the vehicle’s main Vulcain engine igniting at the 8:44 p.m. opening of tonight’s 37-minute launch window in French Guiana.

SPACEWAY 3 was lofted by Arianespace for U.S.-based Hughes Network Systems, LLC, while BSAT-3a was booked by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems as part a turnkey contract with Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT).

“With this third launch for 2007, Ariane 5 has already orbited a total of six telecommunications satellites since the beginning of the year,” Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said after the successful flight. “Meanwhile, Soyuz launched four spacecraft last May for Globalstar. And Arianespace demonstrates more than ever the unmatched performance of its launch Service & Solutions offer.”

SPACEWAY 3 is one of the largest telecommunications satellites ever built, and its innovative design includes onboard dynamic multi-beam switching, which will deliver bandwidth-on-demand and direct site-to-site mesh networking.

Hughes Network Systems: A new Arianespace customer

The spacecraft was produced in El Segundo, California by Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc., and will be operated by Hughes Network Systems, LLC of Germantown, Maryland for satellite-delivered broadband services to enterprise, government and consumer users throughout North America.

“Congratulations to Hughes Network Systems for this first collaboration with us as a customer,” Le Gall said in his post-launch comments at the Spaceport’s Jupiter control center. “SPACEWAY 3, with its cutting-edge design that allows on-demand services, will position Hughes as an innovative entrant into the exclusive operator business. We are very proud to be part of this new era.”

Le Gall also noted that when Arianespace signed the SPACEWAY 3 launch contract in February of this year, he made a commitment to have the Hughes payload orbited by mid August. Adding with a smile, Le Gall said: “We did this with a few hours in advance.”

This fact was acknowledged by Pradman P. Kaul, Chairman and CEO of Hughes Network Systems, who asked the invited guests, VIPs and launch team members assembled at the Jupiter control room for a round of applause in honor of Arianespace.

“This is a defining moment for our company because for the first time, we’ll be owners of a satellite on our own, and will be able to offer our customers a totally integrated service,” Kaul continued. “We are very excited that we have the opportunity to move the world of broadband data access to the next level.”

Arianespace’s long-term relationship with Japan

BSAT-3a marked the 38th Lockheed Martin-built payload orbited by Arianespace, and it will provide Japanese operator B-SAT with direct television links for the entire Japanese archipelago. It was produced in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and is equipped with 12 130-watt Ku-band channels (with eight operating at one time).

Marshall Byrd, the General Manager of Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, explained that BSAT-3a was built in 22 months from the time of its order until the ready-to-ship date. Byrd said he appreciated Arianespace’s work in “executing this launch in such a swift manner” with its match-up of BSAT-3a with SPACEWAY 3 for tonight’s dual-passenger mission.

The mission also underscored Arianespace’s important relationship with the Japanese communications market, as BSAT-3a was the 22nd spacecraft it has launched for a Japanese operator. The entire current B-SAT fleet has been orbited by Arianespace, continuing more than 13 years of uninterrupted cooperation that began with the successful lofting of BS-3N in July 1994.

Three more flights are planned with the workhorse Ariane 5 this year. The next is scheduled for the end of September, carrying two Orbital Sciences Corporation-built payloads for Intelsat and Optus: the Intelsat 11 and Optus D2 satellites.

Optus D2 is to be operated by Australian-based Optus, and is the second satellite in Optus’ D-series fleet. The Optus D2 satellite will enable the development of new business opportunities for the direct-to-home market, new data services and services bundling.

The Intelsat-11 spacecraft was booked with Arianespace in a contract announced in April, and will weigh approximately 2,500 kg. at liftoff. Its 34 transponders will provide direct-to-home broadcasting and data networking services to Latin America

Arianespace’s Starsem affiliate also has a mission planned with its Soyuz launch vehicle in October, which will be performed for Globalstarfrom Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Ariane 5 – third dual-payload launch of 2007

(ESA) – Last night, an Ariane 5 ECA launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two telecommunications satellites into geostationary transfer orbits.

Lift-off of flight V177 took place at 23:44 GMT/UTC (20:44 local time, 01:44 [15 August] CEST/Paris). The satellites were accurately injected into the correct transfer orbits about 30 minutes later.

The payload comprised SPACEWAY 3, which will deliver broadband services throughout North America, and BSAT-3a, which will provide direct television links for Japan. The payload mass was 8848 kg; the satellite masses totalled 8042 kg, with payload adapters and dispensers making up the additional 806 kg.

This third launch of the year keeps Arianespace and Europe’s Spaceport on target to perform six Ariane 5 launches in 2007 as they head towards their target of seven to eight missions per year from 2009.

Flight timeline

The Ariane 5’s cryogenic, liquid fuelled, main engine was ignited first. Seven seconds later, the solid fuel rocket boosters were also fired, and a fraction of a second after that, the launch vehicle lifted off.

The solid boosters were jettisoned 2min:20sec after main engine ignition, and the fairing protecting the payload during the climb through the Earth’s atmosphere was discarded at 3min:08sec. The launcher’s main engine was shut down at 8min:59sec; six seconds later the main cryogenic stage separated from the upper stage and its payload.

Four seconds after main stage separation, the engine of the launcher’s cryogenic upper stage was ignited to continue the journey. The upper stage engine was shut down at 24min:53sec into the flight, at which point the launch vehicle was travelling at 9435 m/s (almost 34 000 km/h) at an altitude of 557.5 kilometres and the conditions for geostationary transfer orbit injection had been achieved.

At 27min:38sec after main engine ignition, SPACEWAY 3 separated from the launcher, followed by BSAT-3a at 34min:10sec.

For this launch, an attempt is being made to recover the solid rocket boosters from the Atlantic Ocean and return them to Kourou for examination. After the boosters separate from the launch vehicle at an altitude of about 66 km and a speed of 1950 m/s (7020 km/h), their momentum carries them up to an altitude of nearly 120 km before they begin their return to Earth.

When the boosters have fallen to an altitude of 5 km, by which time they are descending at 200 m/s (720 km/h), their nosecones are ejected and a parachute system is deployed. The main parachutes are 48 m in diameter and slow the descent rate of the 40 tonne booster casings to below 27 m/s (100 km/h) for landing in the sea around 8min:40sec after lift off.

Ariane 5 ECA
Ariane 5 ECA is the latest version of the Ariane 5 launcher. It is designed to place payloads weighing up to 9.6 tonnes into geostationary transfer orbit. With its increased capacity Ariane 5 ECA can handle dual launches of very large satellites.

Lockheed Martin Marks 33rd Consecutive A2100 Success With The Launch Of BSAT-3a Satellite

KOUROU, French Guiana, (Lockheed Martin) — The BSAT-3a telecommunications satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] for the Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT), was successfully launched today from Kourou, French Guiana. Lift-off occurred at 7:44 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) aboard an Ariane 5-ECA launch vehicle provided by Arianespace of Evry, France. Initial contact with the satellite, called acquisition of signal, was confirmed at 8:46 p.m. EDT from Lockheed Martin’s satellite tracking station in Uralla, Australia.

The BSAT-3a communications payload contains 12 130-W Ku-band channels (eight operating at one time). With a design life of more than 13 years, BSAT-3a is based on the A2100A platform manufactured by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), Newtown, Pa. BSAT-3a marks the 12th Lockheed Martin satellite contract awarded in the 1- to 4-kW class satellite range.

“Our strong relationship with B-SAT and continued focus on Mission Success has resulted in the BSAT-3a team successfully meeting our collective objectives,” said Vice-President and General Manager Marshall Byrd. “BSAT-3a will provide direct broadcast links for the entire Japanese archipelago from its geostationary orbit and we are pleased that B-SAT has entrusted Lockheed Martin with this important mission. Congratulations to all on a job well done.”

Built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), Newtown, Pa., BSAT-3a will be located at orbital location 110 degrees East longitude and is the second of five planned A2100 satellite launches this year. The successful launch of BSAT-3a represents the 33rd launch of an A2100 spacecraft for customers worldwide and all 33 currently are operational. Throughout its nearly 50-year history, LMCSS has launched 91 commercial communications geostationary earth orbit satellites.

BSAT-3a is the sixth Direct Broadcasting Satellite in the 12GHz BSS band procured by B-SAT. Satellite broadcasting in Japan has a long history, beginning in 1984 and today penetrating in excess of 23 million households.

The Lockheed Martin A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft series is designed to meet a wide variety of telecommunications needs including Ka-band broadband and broadcast services, fixed satellite services in C-band and Ku-band, high-power direct broadcast services using the Ku-band frequency spectrum and mobile satellite services using UHF, L-band, and S-band payloads. The A2100’s modular design features a reduction in parts, simplified construction, increased on-orbit reliability and reduced weight and cost.

The A2100 spacecraft’s design accommodates a large range of communication payloads as demonstrated by the 32 spacecraft successfully flown to date. This design modularity also enables the A2100 spacecraft to be configured for missions other than communication. The A2100 design is currently being adapted for geostationary earth orbit (GEO)-based earth observing missions and is currently the baselined platform for Lockheed Martin’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Series-R (GOES-R) proposal. The A2100 also serves as the platform for critical government communications programs including Advanced Extremely High Frequency and Mobile User Objective System and is the foundation for Lockheed Martin’s Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) offering.

About B-SAT
B-SAT is a unique operator of broadcasting satellites in 12GHz BSS band in Japan. The company was established in April 1993 and is located in Tokyo, Japan. Since then, B-SAT has worked toward providing stable satellite operations and continuity of broadcast services. B-SAT currently owns and manages four satellites, BSAT-1a and-1b for analogue services, BSAT-2a and -2c for digital services.

About Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems is a unit of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, a major operating unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a full spectrum of advanced-technology systems for national security, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include human space flight systems; a full range of remote sensing, navigation, meteorological and communications satellites and instruments; space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft; laser radar; fleet ballistic missiles; and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2006 sales of $39.6 billion.

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