Early indications suggest that Arianespace has successfully launched Yahsat’s Al Yah-3 and SES’s SES-14 communications satellites into geostationary orbit.
The launch, designated VA241 by Arianespace, was conducted by an Ariane 5 space launch vehicle from the Kourou space launch centre in French Guiana, located in Latin America.
An Arianespace press release issued at the time of publication stated:
“The launcher’s liftoff took place on January 25, 2018 at 7:20 pm. A few seconds after ignition of the upper stage, the second tracking station located in Natal, Brazil, did not acquire the launcher telemetry. This lack of telemetry lasted throughout the rest of powered flight. Subsequently, both satellites were confirmed separated, acquired and they are on orbit. SES-14 and Al Yah 3 are communicating with their respective control centers. Both missions are continuing.”
Once operational at 20 degrees West in geostationary orbit, Al Yah-3 will provide commercial Ka-band coverage to 60% of Africa’s, and over 95% of Brazil’s, populations through Direct-to-Home (DTH) television.
Al Yah-3 was built by U.S. satellite manufacturer Orbital ATK, and is based on the GEOStar-3 bus.
Once in service, Al Yah-3 will be the third satellite operated by Yahsat, which already operates Yahsat-1A and Yahsat-1B, both built by Airbus Defence and Space.