On Sunday evening, March 11, Arianespace placed two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit: the military communications satellite Skynet 5A for the British Ministry of Defense (MoD), and the civil communications satellite Insat 4B for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The latest successful launch of an Ariane 5, the first in 2007, confirms that Arianespace’s Services & Solutions best meet the needs of both private and governmental operators around the world.

Arianespace continues to set the launch service standard for all telecom operators worldwide, whether military or civil. 

Today, Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher in service capable of simultaneously launching two payloads.

  Civil and military communications payloads

The launch of Skynet 5A reflects the strategic role played by Arianespace, which guarantees independent access to space for European governments. Skynet 5A is the 26th military payload entrusted to the European launcher. Ariane had already orbited the Skynet 4B, 4C, 4E and 4F satellites for the British MoD and NATO. Arianespace has two more MoD satellites in its launch backlog, Skynet 5B and Skynet 5C.

Insat 4B is the 13th ISRO satellite to use the European launcher. Since the launch of the experimental satellite Apple on Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has orbited a dozen Indian satellites.

Skynet 5A/Insat 4B 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 Sunday, March 11, at 7:03 pm local time in Kourou (5:03 pm in Washington, DC, 22:03 UT, 11:03 pm in Paris, and on Monday, March 12 at 3:33 am in Bangalore).

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

Perigee: 249.8 km for a target of 250.0 km (±3)

Apogee: 35,952 km for a target of 35,970 km (±160)

Inclination: 4.5 degrees for a target of 4.5 degrees (±0.06°)

Skynet 5A is being orbited on behalf of EADS Astrium, which is delivering the satellite in orbit for the private company Paradigm. The company Paradigm Secure Communications will offer secure communications services for the British armed forces, NATO and other countries. Built by EADS Astrium Ltd. in Stevenage, United Kingdom, the Skynet 5A satellite weighed about 4,700 kg at launch.

Insat 4B is dedicated to television and telecommunications services, with 12 Ku-band transponders and 12 C-band transponders. It primarily covers the Indian sub-continent. Designed, assembled and integrated by the Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore, Insat 4B weighed about 3,000 kg at launch.

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 275 satellite payloads.  For further information, see the Arianespace Web site at www.arianespace.com.