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By | May 7, 2007

      After Delay, Two Satellites Are Launched On Heavy-Lift Ariane 5-ECA

      An Ariane 5 rocket lofted two satellites into orbit in a weekend launch that initially was delayed by high-altitude winds, Arianespace announced.

      Launched from the ELA-3 complex at Europe’s Spaceport, the Ariane 5 orbited Astra 1L for SES Astra and Galaxy 17 for Intelsat, marking the 18th consecutive success for the Arianespace lifter, according to the company.

      That satellite built for SES Astra will hover at orbital location 19.2 degrees East.

      Astra 1L will carry 29 active Ku band transponders used to provide distribution of direct-to-home broadcast services across Europe as well as a 2-transponder Ka band payload for interactive applications.

      The bird is to provide 15 years of design life. It will permit release of Astra 2C from its current location of 19.2 degrees East.

      As well, it will reinforce the SES Astra inter-satellite back-up concept.

      This is the 15th of the A2100 series spacecraft designed, built and launched for SES companies by Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT]. Lockheed Martin currently is building AMC-14 for SES Americom, which is scheduled to be launched in December.

      Astra 1L also marks the first of five A2100 launches this year.

      This 4,500-kg. (4.96 tons) Astra 1L communications platform will extend the Astra coverage from the Canary Islands in the West to the Russian border in the East, and it will further strengthen the SES Astra in-orbit back-up scheme.

      As for the Intelsat satellite, the 4,100-kg. (4.519 tons) Galaxy 17 spacecraft orbited today become the 45th Instelsat satellite to use an Ariane launcher since 1983.

      “About 60 percent of Intelsat satellites have been launched by Arianespace, and this fall, we will launch two more satellites for Intelsat,” Jean-Yves Le Gall, Arianespace chairman and CEO, said.

      The latest flight lofted a total mass estimated at just over 9,400 kg. (10.36 tons), for a mission to standard geostationary transfer orbit. This included the weight of the two satellite payloads, their integration hardware, as well as the Ariane 5 multiple deployment system that enables the launcher to perform its efficient dual-spacecraft launches.

      The mission originally had been scheduled for Thursday, but was delayed until Friday evening by high-altitude winds over French Guiana, which exceeded the established safety margins.

      Le Gall also announced upcoming Arianespace missions. The first will be in the next few weeks, when Arianespace affiliate Starsem launches a Soyuz vehicle from Baikonur Cosmodrome with the Globalstar 1R payload. This will be followed in August by another heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission from Europe’s Spaceport, which is to carry the Spaceway 3 and B- SAT 3A satellites.

      Telesat AnikF3 Satellite Enters Service After Launch

      A Telesat Anik F3 satellite was launched and has completed in-orbit tests at the 118.7 degreesW orbital slot before entering commercial service.

      The satellite was handed over to Telesat by satellite manufacturer Astrium Satellites on 30 April, just three weeks after launch.

      Operating 24 active transponders in C-band, 32 in Ku-band and a small payload in Ka-band, Anik F3 will provide valuable broadcasting, telecommunications, business communications and Internet-based services.

      The Astrium Satellites team in Toulouse took control and began operating the Anik F3 satellite following its launch by an ILS Proton Breeze M vehicle which lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

      Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.

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