Arianespace to Launch Intelsat’s New Dawn Satellite

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PARIS — Europe’s Arianespace consortium will launch the Intelsat New Dawn satellite in late 2010 aboard either a heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket as a secondary passenger or as the sole satellite aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle operated from Europe’s equatorial spaceport under a contract announced April 14 by Evry, France-based Arianespace.

New Dawn, which is being financed through a joint venture between Washington- and Bermuda-based Intelsat and a South African investor group led by Convergence Partners, is expected to operate at 33 degrees east longitude with 28 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders. The satellite will be used to provide video, broadband and cellular-backhaul services in Africa.

New Dawn is under construction by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., and is expected to weigh about 3,000 kilograms at launch — which is about the maximum payload that can be carried into geostationary transfer orbit by a Soyuz vehicle operating from Europe’s Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

A Soyuz launch pad is under construction at a new complex in French Guiana. The Russian vehicle is scheduled to make its inaugural flight from the facility either late this year or early in 2010.