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.
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.”