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Arianespace Successfully Lofts Communications Satellites For India, Saudi Arabia

An Arianespace Ariane 5 satellite launch vehicle leaving its launch pad in French Guiana launching satellites for India and Saudi Arabia on 5 February 2019. Photograph courtesy of Arianespace.

Arianespace has successfully orbited two telecommunications satellites: the Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 condosat for operators King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Hellas Sat; and GSAT-31 for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Arianespace’s first launch of the year took place on Tuesday, 5 February 2019 at 6:01 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America).

Today’s launch was the 103rd Ariane 5 mission, bringing the number of geostationary satellites launched by Arianespace to 374.

Following the announcement of this first successful launch of the year, Stephane Israel, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, said: “This year we kick off the 40th anniversary celebration of the first launch of Europe’s Ariane rocket with a successful launch of Ariane 5.

Through this emblematic flight, Arianespace underscores the reliability of our heavy launcher, the benchmark in the launch segment for geostationary telecommunications satellites. By carrying out a mission for long-lasting customers from three continents – Arabsat, KACST, Hellas Sat and ISRO – we continue to prove the attractiveness of Arianespace’s launch services for customers from around the world, both institutional and commercial.”

Supporting telecommunications on three continents

The Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 (also called HS-4/SGS-1) satellite comprises two payloads, with coverage zones encompassing Europe, the Middle East and South Africa:

  • Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 will provide advanced communications services for Saudi Arabia’s KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology), as well as secure communications for countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperative Council region.
  • Hellas Sat 4 will provide advanced regional communications services for Arabsat’s subsidiary, Hellas Sat, the Greek-Cypriot satellite operator.

After launching GSAT-11 for ISRO on the final Ariane 5 mission of 2018, Arianespace has now orbited GSAT-31 on its first mission in 2019.

With GSAT-31, ISRO continues to develop its space infrastructure to reduce the digital divide in India. The next ISRO geostationary satellite to be launched by Arianespace will be GSAT-30.

This first Ariane 5 mission of the year placed two satellites in geostationary transfer orbit. Arianespace confirmed its business momentum and leadership in the geostationary telecommunications satellite market during 2018 by signing launch contracts for eight more satellites, bringing the total number of geostationary telecommunications satellites in its backlog of launch orders to 26.

Up to five Ariane 5 dual launches are planned in 2019, to orbit a total of 10 geostationary satellites.

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