Arianespace is preparing its sixth launch of 2018 as it plans to orbit Azerbaijan’s Azerspace-2/Intelsat-38 telecommunications satellite on board an Ariane-5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in South America. The launch, planned for 25 September 2018, also includes the Horizons-3e communications satellite for Intelsat and its partner SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.
The planned launch will be the 100th using the Arianespace Ariane-5 launch vehicle, and is designated as Flight VA243 and will be launched from from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana.
The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) took place on 21 September 2018 in Kourou in order to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.
The launch will be significant for Arianespace as Flight VA243 will be a significant milestone in the operational career of the Ariane-5 since it not only marks the 100th launch of the rocket vehicle, but will also be the 300th launch for Arianespace’s family of launchers.
Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 is a multi-mission communications satellite to be located at 45° East in geostationary orbit. Its launch will be the second time that Arianespace has lofted a satellite for Azercosmos – the national space agency of Azerbaijan and a leading satellite operator in the South Caucasus region. Azerspace-2 is Azercosmos’ second telecommunications satellite and is to expand on the current capacity of Azerspace-1 already in orbit.
The Azerspace-2 satellite will offer enhanced capacity, coverage, and service offerings to support growing demand in the region for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting, government, and network services in Europe, Central and South Asia, Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Azerspace-2 has been designed for smaller antennas and has cross-connectivity features between East, West, and Central Africa, as well as Europe and Central Asia.
Intelsat-38 is a Ku-band satellite to be placed at the 45ºE orbital location. It will replace Intelsat-12 and host Direct-to-Home (DTH) platforms for Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Asia-Pacific region. Intelsat-38 will also provide connectivity for corporate networks and government applications across Africa.
U.S.-based Space Systems Loral (SSL), a Maxar Technologies company, is the prime contractor of Azerspace-2/Intelsat-38.