1st Ariane 5 launch of 2019 to orbit 2 satellites
The first of five scheduled launches in 2019 for Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket is slated to carry two telecommunications satellites into geostationary orbit above the Earth.
Located in the upper section of the Ariane 5’s nearly 56-foot (17-meter) tall payload fairing, on top of the Sylda dual payload adapter, is the Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) GSAT-31 is loaded in the lower section, inside the Sylda adapter.
Liftoff is currently scheduled for Feb. 5, 2019, with a 48-minute launch window opening at 4:01 p.m. EST (21:01 GMT).
The Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 carries two payloads aboard the spacecraft. The first, called the Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 communications payload, is expected to provide advanced Ka-band communication services for Saudi Arabia’s KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology), which will provide secure communications for the Gulf Cooperative Council region.
KACST is an independent scientific organization of the government of Saudi Arabia that is responsible for the promotion of science and technology in the country.
The Hellas Sat 4 communications payload will provide advanced Ku-band communication services for Arabsat’s subsidiary Hellas Sat. This is designed to allow the Greek-Cypriot satellite operator to provide television, internet and phone services to customers located in the Middle East, Europe and South Africa.
The “condosat” was designed and built by Lockheed Martin and has a design life of over 15 years and can maintain orbital maneuverability for up to 23 years. It should be positioned at 39 degrees east where it is set to join Hellas Sat 3, which was launched by Arianespace on June 28, 2017.
The second payload being lofted into space by the Ariane 5 rocket will be GSAT-31, another telecommunications satellite.
It was designed and manufactured by ISRO and built on an enhanced I-2K bus structure, which has been used on 40 satellites including GSAT-31. The satellite is designed to provide communications services from geostationary orbit in Ku-band and it should also have an on orbit life greater than 15 years.
GSAT-31 is planned to be located in a geostationary orbit at 48 degrees east and is set to replace Insat 4CR, which is expected to reach the end of it’s on orbit life in the near future.
The Ariane 5 launch vehicle
Capable of lifting more than 10 metric tons into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), the Ariane 5 can loft the heaviest spacecraft currently built and, in this case, multiple spacecraft to GTO.
The Ariane 5 utilizes two solid rocket boosters, each producing 1.59 million pounds (7,080 kilonewtons), along with the core stage, producing 220,000 pounds (960 kilonewtons), for a thrust more than twice the power of the Delta IV Heavy and just less than SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy.
This will be the 68th flight of the Ariane 5 in its ECA configuration, which is used primarily for GTO launches.
Video courtesy of Arianespace
Lloyd Campbell’s first interest in space began when he was a very young boy in the 1960s with NASA’s Gemini and Apollo programs. That passion continued in the early 1970s with our continued exploration of our Moon, and was renewed by the Shuttle Program. Having attended the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on its final two missions, STS-131, and STS-133, he began to do more social networking on space and that developed into writing more in-depth articles. Since then he’s attended the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, the agency’s new crew-rated Orion spacecraft on Exploration Flight Test 1, and multiple other uncrewed launches. In addition to writing, Lloyd has also been doing more photography of launches and aviation. He enjoys all aspects of space exploration, both human, and robotic, but his primary passions lie with human exploration and the vehicles, rockets, and other technologies that allow humanity to explore space.