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March 24th, 2014

Arianespace, Airbus Defence and Space, SES, HISPASAT, Orbital Sciences—A Workhorse Ariane 5 Takes The Reins For SES + HISPASAT Satellites (Launch)

[SatNews] Orbital Sciences has just released their information regarding the Arianespace' Ariane 5 launch of HISPASAT's Amazonas 4A and SES' ASTRA 5B satellites that occurred on March 22, 2014.

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) has announced that the Amazonas 4A commercial communications satellite, built by the company for HISPASAT S.A. of Spain, was successfully launched into orbit aboard an Ariane 5 ECA rocket on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Lift-off occurred at 6:04 p.m. EDT from the European spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite was successfully deployed approximately 35 minutes into the mission, placing it into its targeted geosynchronous transfer orbit. HISPASAT and Orbital engineers have begun a comprehensive series of in-orbit tests to verify all spacecraft systems are functioning properly before it is officially turned over to HISPASAT for full operational control and commencement of commercial service.

“The initial check-out and testing process indicates the Amazonas 4A mission is proceeding smoothly,” said Mr. Christopher Richmond, Orbital’s Senior Vice President of Communications Satellites. “With the growing demand for expanded communications services in the South American region, we are proud to be a part of the HISPASAT team in its quest to meet this demand and we look forward to successful commissioning of the spacecraft in the coming weeks.”

Amazonas 4A marks the 150th Orbital-built satellite to have been completed and delivered to commercial, civil government and national security customers over the past 32 years. Amazonas 4A is the 33rd satellite Orbital has produced based on its successful GEOStar commercial communications satellite platform, which supports all types of commercial communications payloads and is compatible with all major commercial launchers. Orbital-built satellites have now amassed about 1,100 years of in-orbit experience, a number that will continue to grow as the company is scheduled to deploy up to nine spacecraft in 2014 for commercial communications, space station logistics, scientific research and national security missions.

At launch, Amazonas 4A weighted approximately 3,000 kg. With its solar arrays extended, it measures 23 meters wide and nearly 5 meters tall, with two deployable reflectors and a Ku-band payload featuring 24 active transponders that will provide voice, wireless backhaul, internet and media application services to South America. Amazonas 4A will generate approximately 5.0 kilowatts of payload power and is designed for a 15-year mission life.

For more information regarding Orbital Sciences, please visit their infosite here.

Arianespace release

The workhorse Ariane 5 orbited a pair of payloads—ASTRA 5B for SES and HISPASAT’S Amazonas 4A—this evening (Saturday, March 22nd), continuing the relationships with two customers that have come to rely on Arianespace’s launch services.

Lifting off from the Spaceport in French Guiana, Flight VA216 provided a total payload lift performance of just under 9,580 kg. on the delivery mission to geostationary transfer orbit.  It was one of multiple launch campaigns currently underway for Arianespace missions, covering its full launcher family – composed of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega.

In post-launch comments in the Spaceport’s control center, Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël acknowledged the trust placed in Arianespace by today’s two mission customers: SES and HISPASAT.

ASTRA 5B was deployed by Ariane 5 at 27 minutes into the mission, with Amazonas 4A separated from the launcher at 34 minutes after liftoff.

This was Ariane 5’s second flight in 2014, and the 73rd overall launch of the vehicle—continuing its on-target track record with the 59th consecutive success.  The mission was designated Flight VA216 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system.

ASTRA 5B was the SES group’s 39th satellite to use Arianespace launchers in the framework of a 25-year-long cooperation that started in December 1988 with the launch of ASTRA 1A.  SES operates the leading direct-to-home (DTH) satellite broadcast system in Europe, based on its ASTRA family of satellites, serving more than 135 million households via cable and DTH networks.

ASTRA 5B was produced by Airbus Defence and Space using a Eurostar 3000 L platform, and had a mass at liftoff of approximately 5,755 kg.  It is fitted with 40 active Ku-band and 6 Ka-band transponders, and will be positioned at 31.5 degrees East.

Amazonas 4A was the eighth satellite launched by Arianespace for Spain, and is part of the Amazonas relay platform series that is expanding HISPASAT’s business over South America.

“I am happy that, tonight, we have been up to the trust HISPASAT placed in our service, and I wish Amazonas 4A a safe journey to its final destination,” Israël said in comments from the Spaceport’s mission control center.  “I have no doubt it will be there on spot to broadcast worldwide the images of La Roja’s victory in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil!”

Arianespace' Ariane 5 launches ASTRA 5B for SES and HISPASAT’S Amazonas 4A. Photo courtesy of Arianespace.

As the 25th Orbital Sciences Corporation-built satellite launched by Arianespace, Amazonas 4A is based on a GEOStar-2.4 platform, and weighed in at about 3,000 kg. for liftoff.  This high-power satellite’s 24 active Ku-band transponders will provide a broad range of telecommunications services across all of South America, and has a design life of 15 years.

In addition to tonight’s Ariane 5 success, preparations are underway at the Spaceport for Arianespace’s next mission – Soyuz Flight VS07, scheduled for liftoff on April 3 with Europe’s Sentinel-1A. 

Israël highlighted how Arianespace’s fast-paced 2014 launch schedule results from the capabilities of its industrial team – led by Airbus Defence and Space for Ariane 5, Roscosmos for Soyuz and ELV for Vega; and also acknowledged the key role of France’s CNES space agency and the European Space Agency.

Also in preparation across the Spaceport complex are Vega Flight VV03 with the European-built DZZ-HR multi-mission satellite for Kazakhstan and Ariane 5 Flight VA218 with the Optus 10 and MEASAT-3b satellite passengers.  The European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Georges Lemaître is at the Spaceport undergoing checkout in advance of an Ariane 5 mission for servicing of the International Space Station, with its Ariane 5 launcher now at the Spaceport as well.


Airbus Defense + Space Release

An Ariane 5 has been successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana, for the 59th time in a row, further underlining the reliability of the European launcher developed and built by its prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space, number two worldwide in space technologies.

For this launch the company also was the prime contractor of ASTRA 5B, one of the two satellites on board, which was designed and built for the European operator SES. The required performance for this, the 217th Ariane flight, was 9,468 kg in geostationary orbit, including 8,662 kg for the two satellites (ASTRA 5B and Amazonas 4A). The remaining weight consisted of Airbus Defence and Space’s Sylda dual launch system and structures for adapting the satellites.
“This 59th consecutive successful launch is a double success, providing further proof of the exceptional reliability of our industrial organisation, both as the prime contractor for Ariane 5 and future European launchers and as a manufacturer of telecommunications satellites such as ASTRA 5B, whose Eurostar E3000 platform is now celebrating ten years of success in orbit,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “We would like to express our gratitude to Arianespace, which markets the launches and operates the range of European launch systems at the Guiana Space Centre, and to all our industrial and institutional partners.”
As the prime contractor for the Ariane launchers, the company has overseen the industrial network of the Ariane 5 program since 2003, which comprises more than 550 companies (over 20 percent of them Small and Middle-sized enterprises -SMEs) in 12 European countries. Airbus Defence and Space also manages the entire industry supply chain, from the manufacture of equipment and stages to the complete integration of the launcher in French Guiana, in line with the customer’s specifications. Drawing on the expertise the company has acquired and the investments it has made in this near ten-year period, Ariane 5 has become the most reliable commercial launcher on the global market and has increased its geostationary orbit payload capacity by nearly one tonne. A flagship of European know-how, the Ariane 5 launcher has been specifically designed to carry heavy payloads into space.
The company has also built more than 100 telecommunications satellites as prime contractor, including 33 as part of the Eurostar 3000 platform.  ASTRA 5B will be the eighth Eurostar E3000 satellite in the SES fleet to be placed in orbit, following the launches of ASTRA 2F in September 2012, SES-6 in June 2013 and ASTRA 2E in September 2013. A further Eurostar E3000 satellite for SES (ASTRA 2G) is currently undergoing the final integration phase and tests at Airbus Defence and Space facilities, with work having also begun on the design of the SES-10, the newest member the SES fleet, ordered in February 2013.

For more information regarding Airbus Defence and Space, please visit http://airbusdefenceandspace.com/

The HISPASAT Group's Statement

The HISPASAT Group has successfully launched, at 23.04 Spanish time, its eleventh satellite, the Amazonas 4A , from the European Space Agency base in Kourou (French Guiana), aboard the Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle built by Arianespace.

Approximately 34 minutes after the rocket’s takeoff, the Amazonas 4A satellite separated from the launch vehicle and initializsation and rollout of the solar panels began. From that point, the maneuvers got underway to position the new satellite in the geostationary orbit where the test phase will take place over several weeks, to confirm that it is functioning correctly.

For the president of HISPASAT, Elena Pisonero, “the Amazonas 4A is the HISPASAT Group’s response to a challenge: to supply, in record time, additional space capacity in Latin America to satisfy the increase in demand for audiovisual services which will come with the holding of the important sporting events in Brazil in the years to come.” Pisonero said HISPASAT’s strategic bet on Latin America has made it a leading operator and a reference company in the region from the very beginning. She added: “We want to continue to be true to this commitment offering innovative and high quality services.”

The new satellite, which has a useful life of 15 years, will provide coverage to South America, from Venezuela and Colombia to the south of Argentina and Chile. Operated by HISPAMAR Satélites, the Group’s Brazilian company, the Amazonas 4A will widen the offering of audiovisual services in the region.

The Amazonas 4A was manufactured by Orbital, based on its Geostar 2.4e platform. It has a launch mass of nearly three tonnes and measures 23 meters wide and 4.7 meters high. It has 24 transponders in the Ku-band, two deployables antennas and attitude control in three axes which will assure pointing precision.

The project, which entails an investment of more than 140 million Euros, has featured a significant involvement by Spanish industry:

  • Thales Alenia Space España: IMUX in the Ku band
  • RYMSA: Elements of the Ku band such as antenna feeding assemblies for reception and transmission, RF filters, hybrids, couplers and RF adapters. Wide coverage antennas and horns with great acquisition for reception and transmission and passive network assemblies.
  • GMV: Satellite control centre and flight dynamics systems.
  • Indra: Terrestrial segment of satellite control.
  • INSA: Satellite control antenna in Maspalomas (Canary Islands).

The HISPASAT Group is composed of companies with a foothold in Spain as well as in Latin America, where its Brazilian affiliate HISPAMAR, sells its services. The Group is a leading Spanish- and Portuguese-language content broadcaster and distributor, including over important direct-to-home television (DTH) and high-definition television (HDTV) digital platforms.