Arianespace, Boeing Satellite
Systems, Inc. and Societe Europeenne des Satellites (SES) today announced the
signing of a contract to launch the Astra 3A telecommunications spacecraft on
an Ariane 5 heavy-lift vehicle.

Astra 3A is to be orbited by the Ariane 5 in early 2002 from Europe’s
Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

“This latest selection by two major players in the space industry clearly
reflects the broad recognition of Ariane’s service quality,” said Arianespace
Chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Luton, who announced the new order at the
Satellite 2001 conference in Washington, D.C.
“The Astra 3A contract follows
the launch last year of seven satellites built by Boeing and two launches with
spacecraft for SES.

Astra 3A will be built at Boeing Satellite Systems’ El Segundo, California
It is the 43rd satellite from this company (formerly Hughes Space
and Communications) that has been signed for launch by Arianespace, and it
will mark the 10th Ariane launch for Societe Europeenne des Satellites S.A.
(SES) — operator of the Astra satellite system and the leader in European
direct-to-home TV broadcasting.

The Astra 3A will use a Boeing 376 HP bus fitted with 20 active
transponders (21 at beginning of service).
Designed for a minimum in-orbit
life of 10 years, Astra 3A will be positioned at 23.5 degrees East, providing
optimum direct broadcast coverage for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
will also provide service continuity for Deutsche Telekom’s DFS Kopernikus FM3

To date, Arianespace has launched seven satellites for SES: Astra 1A in
December 1988, Astra 1B in July 1991, Astra 1C in May 1993, Astra 1D in
October 1994, Astra 1E in October 1995, Astra 2B in September 2000 and Astra
2D in December 2000.

With the new Astra 3A order, a total of three SES satellites are on
Arianespace’s list of satellites awaiting launch.

Including this latest contract, Arianespace’s total backlog now stands at
47 satellites to be orbited (38 satellites plus 9 ATV missions for the
International Space Station).