Ariane 4: Only 8 To Go
The successful Kourou launch of Insat 3C on an Ariane 4 (model 42L) rocket (Insat 3C was initially planned to launch on an Ariane 5 series) means there are only eight Ariane 4 rockets left in the company’s inventory.
Weighing 2,750 kilograms (6,063 pounds) at launch, Insat 3C was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and carries 30 C-band and two S-band transponders and with a 12-year life is planned to supply telecom services and TV programming from its position at the 74 degrees East orbital slot above the Indian Ocean region. It was Ariane’s eighth Indian satellite launch.
Insat 3C will replace the earlier 2B and 2C models now nearing end of life, having been launched in 1993 and 1995, respectively. ISRO’s ninth satellite, Insat 3A, is to be orbited by Arianespace later this year, followed by the tenth, Insat 3E, in 2003.
Another Ariane 4 (44L version) is scheduled to be used on Feb. 20 to launch Intelsat’s 904 telecom satellite. Ariane 5 has been grounded since July 2001, and is scheduled to return to service on Feb. 28 with Flight 145 of European Space Agency’s Envisat.
The launch will proceed provided the current Aestus engine tests continue to be satisfactory, and a performance review is scheduled for Feb. 15 when approval will be granted for flight approval.