Ariane 5 to launch 2 satellites to geostationary transfer orbit
For the fifth time in 2017, Arianespace will send an Ariane 5 rocket into space. The flight will orbit commercial communication satellites for two international customers: Intelsat and Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT), a leading broadcasting satellite operator in Japan.
The Intelsat 37e satellite will support Africa, Europe, Central Africa, and Latin America, while BSAT-4a will provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) television service in Japan.
Improving satcom capabilities
Stationed in geosynchronous orbit at 342° E longitude, Intelsat 37e will be situated over the mid-Atlantic. Weighing in at a hefty 14,193 pounds (6,438 kilograms), the satellite is the fifth of Intelsat’s EpicNG series of high-throughput satellites built by Boeing.
Intelsat 37e includes fixed C-band, and steerable spot Ku-band and Ka-band beams, which allows the spacecraft to optimize its services to meet the requirements of its regional customers. It is the first satellite to offer interconnectivity between three different bands. Additionally, the next-generation satellite will be used in wireless backhaul, enterprise Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), and mobility networks.
The satellite Intelsat 37e is replacing, Intelsat 901, was launched in 2001 and has exceeded its estimated 13-year service life.
BSAT-4a is Arianespace’s ninth launch for B-SAT and its 30th launch contract for a geostationary commercial satellite in Japan. The 7,760-pound (3,520-kilogram) satellite, which will be stationed over the equator at 110° E, carries 24 Ku-band transponders. It will expand the availability of high-definition and 4K/8K ultra-high-definition television in that country. The spacecraft bus is based on SSL‘s SSL 1300 platform.
Both satellites are designed to provide service for 15 years or longer.
Ready to go
On Sept. 1, 2017, the Ariane 5 ECA flight, designated VA239 by Arianespace, was cleared for launch. The rocket will roll out from the Guiana Space Centre’s Final Assembly Building in Kourou, French Guiana Sept. 4 to the ELA-3 launch zone.
Liftoff will occur Sept. 5, with a 33-minute launch window opening at 6:51 p.m. local time in French Guiana (5:51 p.m. EDT / 21:51 GMT). After achieving an initial orbit, Intelsat 37e, as the top payload “passenger”, will be deployed first, followed by BSAT-4a.
Bart Leahy is a freelance technical writer living in Orlando, Florida. Leahy's diverse career has included work for The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, a number of commercial space companies, small businesses, nonprofits, as well as the Science Cheerleaders.