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Intelsat Selects the Ariane 6 to Launch IS-41 and 44

By Rachel Jewett | November 30, 2022

Rendering of an Ariane 6. Photo: Arianespace

Intelsat has tapped Arianespace to launch two software-defined satellites, IS-41 and IS-44, on an Ariane 6 rocket in 2025. The companies announced the launch agreement on Wednesday. Arianespace said the agreement repurposes a previous launch contract and adds one additional satellite.

The mission will use the Ariane 64 configuration of the Ariane 6, the more powerful configuration with four solid rocket motors. The satellites will weigh close to 8000 kg at launch and will be placed into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The first Ariane 6 flight has been delayed, but Arianespace expects to debut the rocket by the end of 2023, Reuters recently reported

“Intelsat is entrusting us with two highly sophisticated payloads for flight aboard our next generation heavy lift vehicle, the Ariane 64. What a tremendous vote of confidence in our team and our launcher,” Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace commented. 

Intelsat ordered the two satellites from Thales Alenia Space at the start of 2022, based on the Thales Space Inspire product line. These software-defined satellites will provide dynamically-allocated connectivity across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia for commercial and government mobility services and cellular backhaul.