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Ariane 5 launches satellites for Intelsat, Japan
Ariane 5. © Arianespace

Ariane 5 launches satellites for Intelsat, Japan

Arianespace has orbited Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a and announced orders for 10 Vega and VegaC launchers.

Arianespace has successfully launched the Intelsat 37e communications satellite, along with the BSAT-4a digital TV broadcast satellite for Space Systems Loral (SSL) as part of a turnkey contract with Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) of Japan.

The launch took place on 29th September 29 at 6:56 p.m. (local time in Kourou) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG). With this ninth launch of the year, and the fifth by Ariane 5, Arianespace also logged the 81st successful launch in a row by the Ariane 5 heavy launcher.

It was second time lucky for the mission. An earlier launch attempt, on 5th September, was aborted at the last second due to an electrical glitch.

BSAT-4a is the ninth B-SAT satellite launched by Arianespace. Arianespace has launched all B-SAT satellites since the Japanese operator’s creation. BSAT-4a is the 29th geostationary satellite launched by Arianespace for a Japanese operator.

In other news, Arianespace signed a contract with ELV/AVIO for 10 Vega and Vega C launchers on the occasion of the 34th French-Italian summit.

The higher-performance Vega C version — due to enter service in 2019 — will offer increased payload weight and volume, enabling it to carry out a broader range of missions, from nano-satellites to larger optical and radar observation satellites.

Three of the first Vega C launchers will be used to launch two satellites in the Airbus Earth observation constellation and one of the two second-generation COSMO-SkyMed satellites, built by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of the Italian ASI space agency and the Italian Ministry of Defense.

The launch contract for the two COSMO-SkyMed satellites — one on Vega, the other on Soyuz — was also announced at the French-Italian summit. The COSMO-SkyMed Second-Generation satellites are dual (civil/military) Earth observation spacecraft equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), capable of observations under any weather or light conditions, day or night.

Built by Thales Alenia Space in Italy using the PRIMA platform, the COSMO-SkyMed Second-Generation satellites will each weigh approximately 2,200kg at launch, and will be positioned in Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 619km.

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