(Kourou, French Guiana) Today’s successful Ariane 5 launch, the 12th in a row and 22nd overall, shows that Arianespace launch services are more than ever the best fit with the needs of operators around the world.

In just over six months, Arianespace has used five Ariane 5s to launch nine satellites – sending more than 33 tons of total payload into geostationary transfer orbit!

Today, Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher in service capable of simultaneously launching two payloads and giving customers the performance, flexibility and competitiveness they expect. 

Launches for two prestigious operators

Following the launch of XTAR-Eur in February 2005, Hisdesat once again called on the European launcher for its new Spainsat satellite. Spainsat will take over for the Secomsat military payloads launched by Arianespace in 1992 and 1993 on the Hispasat 1A and 1B satellites. Spainsat is the 25th military payload to use an Ariane launcher.

Arianespace and Eutelsat have built up a very fruitful, uninterrupted partnership over the last 22 years. More than half of Eutelsat’s fleet has been orbited by the European launcher. Hot Bird 7A is the 21st Eutelsat satellite launched by Arianespace.

  Spainsat /Hot BirdTM 7A  mission at a glance

The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.  Liftoff was on Saturday, March 11 at 7:32 pm local time in Kourou (5:32 pm in Washington, DC,  22:32 GMT and 11:32 pm in Paris and Madrid).

Provisional parameters at injection of the cryogenic upper stage (ESC-A) were:

  • Perigee: 248.7 km for a target of 248.6 km (±3)
  • Apogee: 35,938 km for a target of 35,966 km (±160)
  • Inclination: 4.98 degrees for a target of 5.00 degrees (±0.06°)

  Spainsat is the first Spanish satellite dedicated to secure government communications. Its operator is Hisdesat, a company founded in 2001 by Hispasat, INSA (a wholly-owned subsidiary of INTA), EADS CASA Espacio, Indra and Sener. Its first customer is the Spanish ministry of defense. Weighing about 3,700 kg at launch, Spainsat was built by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California. It will be positioned at 30 degrees West, over the Atlantic, and will have 13 X-band transponders and one Ka-band transponder. Spanish industry will supply several major subassemblies, plus the ground segment.

Hot BirdTM 7A will be located at 13 degrees East, Eutelsat’s flagship orbital position for TV and radio broadcasting. Built by Alcatel Alenia Space, Hot BirdTM 7A will weigh about 4,100 kg at launch. Fitted with 38 Ku-band transponders, it is designed to renew current capacity and provide redundancy for the Hot Bird family at this orbital position. Eutelsat now transmits more than 850 television channels and 550 radio stations from this spot to some 110 million households in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the commercial launch services leader, holding more than 50 percent of the international market for satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).  Created in 1980 as the world’s first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed contracts for the launch of more than 260 satellite payloads.  For further information, see the Arianespace Web site at www.arianespace.com.