Ariane 5 Launches Telecom Sats for Hispasat, Azerbaijan

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PARIS — A European Ariane 5 ECA rocket on Feb. 7 successfully placed telecommunications satellites for Hispasat of Spain and Azercosmos of Azerbaijan into geostationary transfer orbit in the vehicle’s 54th consecutive success.

Operating from Europe’s Guiana Space Center on South America’s northeast coast, the Ariane 5 vehicle placed the Amazonas-3 satellite, owned by Hispasat of Spain, into a transfer orbit from which it will migrate to its final operating position of 61 degrees west.

Weighing 6,265 kilograms at launch, Amazonas-3 carries 33 Ku-band and 19 C-band transponders as well as nine Ka-band spot beams for Internet services to its principal market in Latin America. Hispasat was granted rights to the 61 degrees west slot from the Brazilian government.

Amazonas 3 was built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif.

Riding in the lower position under the Ariane 5’s fairing was the Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite owned by the government of Azerbaijan. Built by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., the satellite weighed about 3,000 kilograms at launch and carries 24 C-band and 12 Ku-band transponders.

It is Azerbaijan’s first satellite, but the government in Baku is determined to follow up with an Earth observation spacecraft and a second telecommunications satellite once the business plan for Azerspace/Africasat-1a is confirmed.

Measat of Malaysia has rights to capacity on the satellite, which will be operated at 46 degrees west longitude.