The Ariane 5 took off at 3:30 p.m. Eastern from Europe’s Guiana Space Center in South America, carrying the Intelsat-39 communications satellite and the EDRS-C laser relay satellite to geostationary transfer orbits.
Regional satellite operator AsiaSat of Hong Kong expects the high growth rates of several Asian economies will outlast the current oversupply of satellite capacity and will reinforce the operator’s business case in an increasingly crowded market.
Airbus will add a third node to the European Data Relay System (EDRS) constellation of geostationary satellites that use laser links to download live imagery from Earth-observation satellites and provide military communications that are virtually impossible to intercept.
Airbus Defence and Space saw its revenue decline in 2016 thanks in part to a 2.21 billion euros ($2.32 billion) charge on Europe’s troublesome A400M military transport aircraft program, but the division’s order intake was up over the prior year.
Satellite fleet operator Avanti Communications, which is seeking a buyer or strategic investor to avoid a loan default, has won fresh support from its long-time supporter, the European Space Agency, in the form of a $12-million investment to provide broadband in Africa, ESA and Avanti said.
An ILS Russian Proton rocket on Jan. 30 successfully placed the Eutelsat 9B commercial telecommunications satellite into orbit.
A European government-industry partnership using space-based lasers to speed data between Earth observation satellites and the ground using geostationary satellites as relay towers is facing potentially costly delays for industrial contractor Airbus Defence and Space.
Airbus contracted with Arianespace to launch the EDRS-C laser-optical data-relay satellite in early 2017, a deal that follows contract discussions with rival SpaceX that drew fire from the French government.