Intelsat 17, Skynet 5D To Launch on Ariane 5s

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Europe’s Ariane 5 ECA heavy-lift rocket will launch the Intelsat 17 commercial telecommunications satellite in late 2010 and the British Skynet 5D military X-band telecommunications satellite in early 2013 under contracts announced by launch-services provider Arianespace May 14 and May 19, respectively.

Intelsat 17, carrying 24 C-band and 25 Ku-band transponders, will replace the Intelsat 702 satellite at 66 degrees east longitude. The 5,800-kilogram spacecraft, under construction by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., had been scheduled for launch by Sea Launch Co. of Long Beach, Calif., before that company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in June 2009.

Skynet 5D, the fourth in the Skynet 5 series, is under construction by Astrium Satellites of Europe on behalf of Paradigm Secure Communications of Britain, part of the Astrium Services group, which is providing beyond-line-of-sight communications services under a long-term contract to the British Ministry of Defence. Skynet 5D is expected to weigh 4,800 kilograms at launch, according to Evry, France-based Arianespace.