Spaceflight Insider

Arianespace chosen to launch Intelsat 39

Intelsat-36-in-the-SSL-Factory-2-Horizontal Intelsat photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider

Archive photo of Intelsat 36. Photo Credit: Intelsat

On Wednesday, Jan. 4, French-based Arianespace announced that it had been selected as the launch service provider for the Intelsat 39 telecommunications satellite. Intelsat 39 is now scheduled to be launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. 

“Arianespace has been launching Intelsat satellites since 1983, a very fruitful relationship of nearly 35 years,” said Ken Lee, Senior Vice President, Space Systems, Intelsat. “After two successful missions in 2016 that delivered the first two Intelsat EpicNG spacecraft, Intelsat 29e and Intelsat 33e, as well as Intelsat 36, into orbit, we look forward to continuing this partnership in 2017. We have the utmost confidence that Arianespace will also successfully execute the Intelsat 39 program.”

Intelsat 39 is being launched to provide broadband networking and video services to Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as broadband connectivity for mobile users in the Indian Ocean region. Intelsat 39 was constructed by Space Systems/Loral LLC (SSL), of Palo Alto, California.

The government of Myanmar chose Intelsat 39 for the unveiling of cellular networks in the more rural areas of the nation.

This new satellite will replace Intelsat 902 (launched by Arianespace in 2001) and reside at the 62° East longitude position. Intelsat 39 is based on the SSL-1300 platform and is equipped with both C- and Ku-band transponders (according to a report appearing on Gunter’s Space Page).

Intelsat will employ both electrical as well as chemical propulsion systems for orbit-raising; however, the spacecraft will rely solely on an all-electrical propulsion system once it is in orbit.

“With 58 satellites launched for Intelsat over more than three decades, we enjoy an exceptional partnership with this leading operator. Arianespace began 2016 with a launch for Intelsat, and it is only appropriate that we start 2017 with a new launch contract with Intelsat. Thanks to Intelsat for its continuous trust: Arianespace will deliver,” said Arianespace’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël via a release issued by the company.

If everything continues to go according to plan, Intelsat 39 will launch in the second half of 2018.



Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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