Arianespace launches 2 birds, readies for more launches in August

Arianespace has successfully launched two communications satellites: Stellat 5, built by Alcatel Space for the new Stellat joint venture; and N-STAR c, produced by American manufacturers Orbital Sciences Corporation and Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems for Japanese telecom giant NTT DoCoMo. Both satellites were launched last Friday within minutes of each other. 

Flight 153, which carried the ninth and tenth payloads carried by Arianespace this year, was the ninth commercial launch of the Ariane 5 launcher. Arianespace has signed up eight new payloads so far this year. Flight 153 was performed by an Ariane 5 launched from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. 

The Stellat 5 is the first satellite to be deployed by Stellat, a joint venture formed in January 2001 by France Telecom and Europe*Star, a subsidiary of Alcatel Space and Loral Space & Communications, with the former holding a 70 per cent stake in the JV.. The Stellat 5 satellite was built by Alcatel Space, using the Spacebus 3000 B3 platform. It will be positioned at 5 degrees West, and is equipped with 35 Ku-band and 10 C-band transponders. Stellat 5 will help bolster the IP and video transmission services offered by France Telecom and Europe*Star in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, specially Internet access with a satellite return channel.

N-STAR c, a mobile telephony satellite, was launched for the American companies Orbital Sciences Corp and Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems as part of a turnkey contract with Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo. The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, which supplied the payload and was responsible for integration. Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp. provided the platform and ground facilities, and will handle satellite positioning in orbit. Fitted with 20 S-band transponders and one C-band transponder, N-STAR c will expand the mobile telephony services offered by NTT DoCoMo throughout Japan, says Arianespace.

The next Ariane mission Flight 155, is slated for late August. An Ariane 5 will boost two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit: Atlantic Bird 1 for Alenia Spazio, and Eumetsat's MSG 1 meteorological spacecraft. Atlantic Bird 1 satellite will be used and operated by Eutelsat as part of its fleet. It will be positioned in geostationary orbit at 12.5 degrees West, above the Atlantic Ocean.

Built by Alenia Spazio, this satellite will be optimised to provide broadcast services, telecommunications and IP based networks. With a mass at lift-off of about 2 700 kg, it will provide 24 active Ku-band transponders with coverage over Europe and the Eastern coast of the Americas. The satellite will have an operating lifetime of about 15 years. 

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