First Ariane 5 flight of 2022 launches two satellites for Asia-Pacific

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TAMPA, Fla. — Arianespace launched a pair of satellites aiming to improve broadband coverage in the Asia-Pacific region June 22 on the Ariane 5 rocket’s first flight of the year.

The rocket lifted off 5:50 p.m. Eastern from the Guiana Space Center spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying Measat-3d for Malaysian operator Measat and GSAT-24 for India.

After successfully separating from Ariane 5, both satellites are due to use onboard propulsion to reach final positions in geostationary orbit.

This was the 113th overall mission for Ariane 5, and the first since it launched the James Webb Space Telescope Dec. 25.

Arianespace said four heavy-lift Ariane 5 vehicles are now remaining before Europe’s next-generation Ariane 6 launcher takes up the baton. The maiden flight for Ariane 6 is currently slated for 2023 following delays.

Stéphane Israël, Arianespace’s CEO, said the next Ariane 5 mission is scheduled for Sept. 6 to launch Eutelsat’s Konnect VHTS satellite. 

The next Arianespace launch is slated for July 7 to perform the maiden flight for Vega C, the successor to Europe’s small launch vehicle Vega.

Measat-3d is due to replace two aging satellites for Measat, including one that started drifting out of its geostationary orbit slot in the middle of last year.

Europe’s Airbus Defence and Space built Measat-3d, which aims to provide broadband speeds of up to 100 megabits per second in areas with limited or no terrestrial network throughout Malaysia. 

In addition to broadband, the satellite aims to provide redundancy and additional capacity for video distribution in the Asia-Pacific region.

Measat-3d also carries a navigation payload that Korean satellite operator KTSAT plans to use to improve air traffic control in South Korea.

Indian space agency ISRO built GSAT-24 for its state-funded commercial arm NewSpace India Limited, which plans to use the satellite for telecoms and broadcast services in India.