Arianespace kicked off 2017 with Soyuz mission VS16 on 27th January carrying the Hispasat 36W-1 telecommunications satellite on a flight from the Spaceport. It was Soyuz’ 16th launch from French Guiana since it began service at the Spaceport in 2011.
Lifting off at 10:03:34 p.m. (local time in French Guiana), Soyuz flew a 32-minute profile to release its satellite passenger into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) – the first mission that Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz has performed for a GTO deployment while operating from the Spaceport.
Another first on the mission involved the Hispasat 36W-1 satellite, which is the initial spacecraft built using Europe’s new “SmallGEO” platform. Developed by Germany’s OHB System AG under the European Space Agency’s ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) programme, the SmallGEO product line offers an entirely European solution in the smaller telecommunications satellite market. It benefits from faster production and testing processes, reduced costs and a broader range of design options.
Once at its orbital position at 36 deg. West, Hispasat 36W-1 will enable Spanish satellite communications operator Hispasat to provide a wide range of telecommunications services in Europe, the Canary Islands and South America.
Equipped with 20 Ku-band transponders and the additional capacity of three transponders in Ka-band, Hispasat 36W-1 features the innovative RedSAT regenerative payload, developed by the Spanish industry under Thales Alenia Space Spain leadership, in collaboration with Hispasat and the European Space Agency (ESA).
Hispasat 36W-1 – the seventh satellite launched by Arianespace for Hispasat since 1992 – had a liftoff mass of 3,210kg, with Soyuz delivering an overall payload lift performance of 3,319kg.
Hispasat 36W-1 was the 15th OHB System-built satellite lofted by Arianespace, with 11 more in Arianespace’s order book for future launches.
As the first Arianespace mission for 2017, Flight VS16 opens a busy launch manifest that targets up to 12 flights during the year, utilizing the medium-lift Soyuz, heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega. Of this total, six are planned between today and late April.
The next mission is scheduled for February 14, using an Ariane 5 to orbit two telecommunications satellites –SKY-Brasil-1 for AT&T (DIRECTV) through its affiliate DIRECTV Latin America, along with Telkom 3S for Indonesia’s Telkom.