The satellites were lifted into space from Kourou, French Guiana by an Ariane 5 rocket at 23h43 CET (21h43 UTC).
Conducted from the ELA-3 launch pad, the mission deployed an estimated payload lift performance of 10,594 kg. to geostationary transfer orbit. T-16 was released first in the sequence, separating from Ariane 5 27 minutes after liftoff, followed six minutes later by its Eutelsat 7C co-passenger.
“For the second Ariane 5 launch of the year, our heavy-weight vehicle has once more performed perfectly,” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël, who provided his post-flight comments from the Spaceport’s mission control center. “Congratulations to all!”
DirectTV’s T-16 – produced in France by Airbus Defence and Space, based on the Eurostar 3000 LX Hybrid platform – will provide high-power broadcast services in Ku- and Ka-bands.
Being flexible, this hybrid-propulsion-powered broadcast satellite can be operated from five different orbital slots (from 99 degrees West to 119 deg. West) – with a coverage area that includes the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Its liftoff mass was estimated at 6,350 kg.
Manufactured by Maxar Technologies, Eutelsat 7C is a 3.4 tonne high-power broadcast satellite which will serve markets across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Turkey, through 49 36-Mhz equivalent Ku-band transponders. The satellite will be co-located with Eutelsat 7B at 7 degrees East, increasing capacity for this dynamic neighbourhood by 19 transponders. It is due to enter into commercial service at the end of this year.
Currently co-located with Eutelsat 7B, Eutelsat 7A will be transferred to another orbital location as part of Eutelsat’s fleet optimisation strategy.
Rodolphe Belmer, Chief Executive Officer of Eutelsat, said: “Eutelsat 7C will allow us to further develop our 7 degrees East video neighbourhood, with two co-located high-power satellites providing the best possible support to customers in this vibrant market. We are delighted to have benefitted from Maxar’s state-of-the-art technology and to celebrate yet another successful launch with Arianespace.”