[Satellite TODAY Insider 07-09-12] Arianespace has successfully launched the EchoStar 17 satellite into geostationary transfer on an Ariane 5 rocket for Hughes Network Systems, kicking off the company’s Ka-band-powered fourth-generation Jupiter Internet service revolution, Hughes confirmed July 6.
The satellite launched in the late afternoon yesterday from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The Ariane 5 rocket left the spacecraft in a geosynchronous transfer orbit at approximately 6:03 p.m. EST. The satellite’s signals were received at a ground station 17 minutes later. Hughes said the satellite deployed its solar arrays on schedule and that all systems are functioning properly.
Space Systems/Loral built EchoStar 17 based on its 1300 platform. The satellite was designed with Hughes’ Jupiter high-throughput technology to support the launch of the company’s HughesNet Gen4 satellite Internet service. The offering aims to dramatically increase Internet browsing performance and support high-bandwidth applications such as video and music.
EchoStar 17’s multi-spot beam architecture will focus capacity in the areas in North America with the highest traffic demand using capacity of more than 100 gigabits-per-second for enhanced service to both consumers and businesses.
"The addition of EchoStar 17 to our existing satellite capacity, ground network and services takes satellite Internet to the next dimension,” Hughes President Pradman Kaul said in a statement. “Our HughesNet Gen4 customers will be able to enjoy a media-rich world like never before. This satellite was many years in planning and we are excited that it is now beginning its performance in space. Space Systems/Loral has been an excellent partner in building EchoStar 17.”
SS/L, which was acquired last week by MDA in Canada, said the satellite would begin firing its main thruster in order to start maneuvering into geostationary orbit.
Hughes completed factory and field qualifications on its Juptier gateway and user terminals in February. The gateway and user terminals are now operational and have been delivering high-speed, end-to-end system traffic over Echostar’s AMC 15 Ka-band satellite. Hughes said the completed milestone paved the way for the Jupiter satellite system launch.
“This is a very exciting time for Hughes,” said Kaul. “We are once again poised to push the envelope and bring a sophisticated, high-throughput satellite to market, based on cutting-edge industry standards and with capabilities that will maintain our position as the world’s leading integrated satellite service provider.”