Ariane 5 Lofts a Pair Of Telecom Satellites

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PARIS — Europe’s Ariane 5 ECA rocket on Aug. 6 successfully placed European and Japanese telecommunications satellites into orbit in the fourth of a planned six Ariane 5 liftoffs for 2011.

Operating from Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport in French Guiana, the Ariane 5 vehicle notched its 45th consecutive success since 2003, launching Luxembourg-based SES’s Astra 1N direct-to-home satellite and the BSat-3c/JCSat-110R spacecraft for two Japanese broadcasters into their planned transfer orbits.

Both satellites were reported healthy by their owners after separating from the rocket in orbit.

The 5,325-kilogram Astra 1N, carrying 52 Ku-band transponders, is a Eurostar 3000 platform built by Astrium Satellites. SES will operate it at the company’s well-established 19.2 degrees east longitude orbital slot after having it provide interim capacity at SES’s 28.2 degrees east position.

SES, which is in the middle of its biggest satellite launch campaign, has four more launches planned this year.

BSat-3c/JCSat-110R is a Lockheed Martin A2100 satellite design built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif. It carries two 12-transponder Ku-band payloads for Broadcasting Satellite System Corp. (B-Sat) and Sky Perfect JSat Corp., both of Tokyo.

Lockheed Martin has made Japan perhaps its most fertile commercial satellite market in recent years. BSat-3c/JCSat-110R is the fifth consecutive Lockheed Martin-built satellite for Sky Perfect JSat, Japan’s biggest satellite fleet operator, and the third consecutive Lockheed satellite for B-Sat.

Weighing 2,910 kilograms at launch, BSat-3c/JCSat-110R is one of the lighter A2100 satellites to be launched. It will operate at 110 degrees east.