On Thursday, October 28, Arianespace orbited two communications satellites: W3B for the European operator Eutelsat, and BSAT-3b for the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), as part of a turnkey contract with Japanese operator Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT).
53rd Ariane 5 launch, 39th success in a row
This latest successful launch of Ariane 5, the fourth in 2010, once again proves the launcher’s operational capabilities. Ariane 5 is the only commercial satellite launcher now on the market capable of simultaneously launching two payloads and handling a complete range of missions, from commercial launches into geostationary orbit to scientific satellites boosted into special orbits.
The 53rd launch of an Ariane 5, and 39th successful mission in a row, clearly demonstrate the launcher’s reliability and availability. Arianespace’s launch service & solutions continue to set the global standard and guarantee independent access to space for all customers, including national and international space agencies, private firms and governments.
With the launch this evening, Arianespace has now orbited eight commercial geostationary communications satellites out of the total of 14 launched since the beginning of the year, giving it over half of the market. Last week Arianespace and Starsem orbited six satellites for the Globalstar-2 constellation, using a Soyuz launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Arianespace and Eutelsat have built a very fruitful, uninterrupted relationship for more than 25 years, with the European launcher orbiting over half of Eutelsat’s fleet. W3B is the 25th Eutelsat satellite launched by Arianespace.
Out of a total of 36 launch contracts open to competition in Japan, Arianespace has signed 27, with a 100% market share over the last few years. BSAT-3b is the seventh satellite for which B-SAT Corp. has chosen Ariane, and the 40th Lockheed Martin-built platform to be launched by Arianespace. The Arianespace order book still has two more Japanese satellites to be launched.
Confidence, responsiveness, quality and timeliness
Following this latest successful mission, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “With this superb launch, I would like to tell our friends Giuliano Berretta and Michel de Rosen for W3B, and Joe Rickers and Kazuo Takenaka for BSAT-3b, how much I appreciate their continued confidence in us. I would also like to pay tribute to everybody who has contributed to this success: the member-states of ESA, whom I would like to thank for supporting the launcher sector, and for their responsiveness in setting up Ariane production support programs.
“All of our industrial partners who produce the launcher, whom I would like to congratulate for their efforts in guaranteeing the quality of their products and ensuring perfect launches, enabling us to meet our customers’ expectations. And CNES’ teams, in France and at the Guiana Space Center, plus Arianespace’s own operations team, whose skill, commitment and professionalism guarantee successful, on-time launches.
W3B/BSAT-3b mission at a glance
The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 6:51 pm local time in Kourou (5:51 pm in Washington, D.C., 21:51 UT, 11:51 pm in Paris, and on Friday, October 29, at 6:51 am in Tokyo).
The W3B satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, using a Spacebus 4000 C3 platform. It weighed 5,400 kg at launch. W3B is equipped with 53 active Ku-band transponders and three Ka-band transponders. Offering a design life of 15 years, it will enhance operational security for customers using “W” series satellites in various orbital positions, particularly at 16 degrees East.
BSAT-3b was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems in Newtown, Pennsylvania, using an A2100 A platform. Weighing 2,060 kg at launch, it will be positioned at 110 degrees East in geostationary orbit, and offers a design life exceeding 15 years. BSAT-3b is fitted with eight 130 Watt Ku-band transponders, and is primarily designed to provide direct TV broadcast links for all of Japan