WASHINGTON — Satellite fleet operator Arsat of Argentina will launch its Arsat-2 satellite in late 2013 aboard a European Ariane 5 or a Europeanized version of Russia’s Soyuz rocket, launch services provider Arianespace announced March 14.

Evry, France-based Arianespace is already under contract to launch Arsat-1 in late 2012.

Arsat-2 is expected to weigh 2,900 kilograms at launch, making it compatible with the Arianespace-operated Soyuz rocket, whose inaugural flight from Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport is scheduled for this summer. Operated from the equatorial site, the Europeanized Soyuz can place satellites weighing up to 3,000 kilograms into geostationary transfer orbit.

Arianespace said the decision on whether to launch Arsat-2 as a solo passenger on a Soyuz, or as one of two passengers aboard the heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket, will be made closer to the launch date.

Arsat-2 is under construction by Invap of Argentina, which has experience in building small Earth observation satellites. Its electronics payload is being supplied by Thales Alenia Space of Cannes, France, with Astrium Satellites of Europe manufacturing several major platform components.

Arsat-2 will be operated at 72 degrees west and will replace Argentina’s Nahuel-1 satellite, launched in 1997.

Arsat, or Empresa Argentina de Soluciones Satelitales Sociedad Anonima, said Arsat-2 will carry 26 Ku-band and the equivalent of 10 C-band transponders.


Thales Alenia Space Wins Arsat 2 Payload Contract 

Arianespace Lands Contract To Launch Argentine Arsat-1

Astrium, Thales Alenia Parts to go on Arsat-1

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.