March 11, 2006 Ariane 5 deploys another dual-satellite payload into orbit!
Arianespace kicked off its 2006 launch activities with the Ariane 5 ECA’s successful orbiting of two telecommunications satellites from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana tonight.
Spain’s SPAINSAT governmental telecommunications spacecraft and the Eutelsat HOT BIRD 7A television broadcast platform were injected into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) in a mission that marked another demonstration of Ariane 5’s dual-satellite payload capacity.
The 3,680-kg SPAINSAT was deployed approximately 27 minutes after the Ariane 5’s liftoff from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, followed about 5 minutes later by the separation of HOT BIRD 7A, which had a mass of 4,100 kg.
HOT BIRD 7A was the 21st satellite orbited by Arianespace for Europe’s Eutelsat telecommunications operator. "The privileged relationship of our two companies is particularly exemplary, and we are particularly pleased to confirm it again this evening," Le Gall said. "I want to thank [Eutelsat Communications CEO] Giuliano Berretta and all of his shareholders for the confidence they place in us."
The HOT BIRD 7A spacecraft will be located at an orbital slot of 13 deg. East – which is Eutelsat’s flagship location for television and radio program broadcasting. Built by Alcatel Alenia Space in Cannes, France, this platform carries 38 Ku-band transponders, and it will renew Eutelsat’s current capacity and provide redundancy for its HOT BIRD family of relay spacecraft.