An Ariane 5 ECA was thrust into space from Kourou, French Guiana at 29 minutes after midnight CET today (Saturday), carrying two satellites into orbit for SES and Intelsat. The launch had been put back for 24 hours to the second launch-window, due to excessive winds.
SES’s Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems build, Astra 1L, will be located at 19.2 degrees East, where the operator said it will be delivering the increasing number of HDTV channels it expects to serve continental Europe.
“We are very proud and satisfied that the Astra 1L launch has been a success,” Ferdinand Kayser, SES Astra’s President and CEO stated, adding how it will also help to relieve the pressure on its other prime orbital neighbourhood. “Astra 1L will allow us to move our satellite Astra 2C from 19.2 degrees East to 28.2 degrees East to fulfill the high capacity demand from the UK and Irish markets. It will also extend the coverage from the Canary Islands in the West to the Russian border in the East and help us to further strengthen our unique in-orbit back-up scheme”.
Intelsat’s, Thales Alenia Space build, Galaxy 17, will initially operate from 74 degrees West and offer high-power capacity to video programmers, government and corporate broadband customers in North America and in the Caribbean. Eventually the satellite, which features 24 C- and 24 Ku-band transponders, will be located at 91 degrees West.
Both satellites are scheduled to enter commercial service in July.