On its sixth successful launch during the first half of 2017, Arianespace set a new heavy-lift record tonight with Ariane 5 in delivering the ViaSat-2 and Eutelsat 172B telecommunications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit with flight VA237.
“With this new mission, Arianespace once again demonstrates the availability and versatility of its launch vehicle family for customers,” explained Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël. “For the third time this year and the 79th time in a row, Ariane 5 performed flawlessly. Well done! Congratulations to all!”
As the 118th Airbus-produced satellite orbited by Arianespace from Kourou, Franch Guyana, Eutelsat 172B uses the Eurostar E3000 EOR (Electric Orbit Raising) platform – becoming the first all-electric telecommunications satellite orbited by an Ariane 5.
Yohann Leroy, Eutelsat’s Chief Technical Officer and Deputy CEO, said that Flight VA237 demonstrated Arianespace’s ability to “efficiently and competitively place very powerful electric propulsion satellites into orbit” with Ariane 5.
Eutelsat 172B will deliver increased capacity for fast-growing applications that include in-flight and maritime connectivity, cellular backhaul, corporate networks, video and government services. It will be located at 172° East, a key neighbourhood providing exceptional Asia-Pacific reach over land and sea, from Alaska to Australia.
Designed to replace Eutelsat 172A, it will provide increased capacity, more power and improved coverage via C and Ku-band payloads connected to a range of service areas. Following the transfer of traffic to the new satellite Eutelsat 172A will continue commercial service at another orbital position.
Eutelsat 172B also features a new Ku-band multi-beam payload delivering 1.8 Gbps of throughput to serve the world’s fastest-growing region for air traffic. The Asia Pacific represents the largest opportunity for in-flight entertainment and connectivity services, with over 8,000 aircraft to be delivered to the region by 2034.
The customised High Throughput payload on Eutelsat 172B will be a major growth platform for in-flight connectivity, notably Panasonic Avionics Corporation, one of the suppliers of in-flight entertainment and connectivity services for commercial airlines. Eleven elliptical beams will enable Panasonic to bridge the West coast of North America to Asia, and down to Australia, supporting rapid air traffic growth in the region and surges in bandwidth use across densely used flight paths. Panasonic will also use the satellite’s widebeam Ku-band coverage as an overlay to deliver live TV to aircraft.