Ariane 5 launches Intelsat, Bsat satellites on second attempt


MOSCOW — Arianespace on Sept. 29 completed a satellite launch first attempted earlier this month, having resolved an issue with one of the Ariane 5’s solid rocket boosters.

The launch carried Intelsat’s fifth high-throughput satellite, Intelsat-37e, and BSAT’s Bsat-4a satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. It is Ariane 5’s 81st consecutive successful launch.

Arianespace previously scrubbed this mission — a rare occurrence for the Ariane 5 rocket — on Sept. 6 after a computer identified an issue with one of the rocket’s twin solid-rocket boosters (SRB). The abort happened after ignition of the Vulcain 2 cryogenic engine, but before ignition of the SRBs, which cannot be extinguished once lit. Arianespace temporarily stood down the mission to resolve the issue.

Intelsat-37e separated first from the Ariane 5 approximately 30 minutes after liftoff. The 6,400-kilogram satellite carries C-, Ku- and Ka-band capacity. Satellite manufacturer Boeing constructed the satellite with both traditional wide-beam and narrower, higher power spot beams for C-band, as well as a steerable Ku-band beam.

Bsat-4a, weighing 3,500 kilograms, separated from the rocket’s lower berth just under 50 minutes into the mission. Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto, California built the satellite with 24 Ku-band transponders for direct-to-home television, including bandwidth-intensive 4K and 8K broadcasts. Bsat tasked SSL with arranging the launch and providing ground infrastructure to integrate the satellite into the the Japanese operator’s fleet.

Arianespace has two more missions intended for this year: a Vega light-lift mission in November and another Ariane 5 in December.