Arianespace successfully placed the DIRECTV-4S TV broadcast satellite into
an accurate geostationary transfer orbit tonight, marking the 65th
successful Ariane 4 launch in a row.

The Ariane 4 lifted off from the Spaceport right on schedule at 9:35 p.m.
local French Guiana time, and the 4,257-kg. DIRECTV-4S satellite separated
from the launcher about 21 min. later.

“Thank you Arianespace…this is a magnificent day,” said a jubilant Philip
J. Goswitz, DIRECTV’s satellite mission director for DIRECTV-4S, after his
spacecraft was confirmed in a good orbit.

Flight 146 marked the 107th mission of an Ariane 4 vehicle and the 26th in
the 44LP version – which is equipped with two solid and two liquid strap-on
boosters for additional thrust at liftoff.

The DIRECTV satellite is a Boeing Space Systems 601 HP platform, and it was
installed under the 9.6-meter-long payload fairing atop Ariane 4 launcher
for the ride into space. Once in operation, the satellite will be used by
California-based DIRECTV to provide digital television service with more
than 300 channels of additional capacity. This capacity will be employed to
deliver additional local channels and strengthen the redundancy of its
in-orbit fleet.

Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Luton noted that tonight’s flight
was with the 200th spacecraft built by Boeing Satellite Systems. “We are
delighted to be part of this record,” Luton said.

Luton also explained that DIRECTV-4S set a record for pre-launch processing.
“The satellite was launched just two and a half weeks after its arrival in
French Guiana,” he stated. “I want to thank all Ariane teams here in Kourou,
whether from Arianespace, CNES or our industrial partners. I know that you
worked without letup to make this the shortest satellite campaign in the
history of Ariane, and to satisfy the requirements of our customer.”

DIRECTV-4S was the 45th Boeing Space Systems-built satellite launched by
Arianespace (the first was Brasilsat A orbited on an Ariane 3 vehicle in
1985 on Flight 12).

The DIRECTV-4S platform will be the first spacecraft in the DIRECTV fleet to
use highly focused spot beam technology, allowing the company to expand its
local channel offerings in metropolitan markets.

Arianespace has confirmed its next mission for January 16, when an Ariane 4
will launch the Insat 3C satellite for ISRO, the Indian Space Agency.

For Ariane 5’s return to flight, Luton reported that work is proceeding
methodically, and Arianespace recently has taken several important steps

“In particular, we have validated modifications to the test stand [on which
the Ariane 5 upper stage engine is being tested in Germany], which means we
can now provide a very realistic simulation of ignition conditions,” he
said. “On November 10, we kicked off a series of tests using this test
stand, which should enable us to define engine modifications by early

Luton said there are several major objectives that remain to be met in the
Ariane 5’s return to flight program, but based on results to date,
Arianespace expects the next flight of the heavy-lift launcher to occur in
the first few weeks of 2002 with Europe’s Envisat satellite.