Astra 5B and Amazonas 4A safely launched

Following a 24-hour delay for bad weather, Arianespace successfully launched two satellites into orbit late on Saturday evening, March 22nd (at 7.04pm local time in French Guiana, and 10.04pm GMT).

These were two heavyweight satellites and the combined weight of its two passengers amounted to 8,755 kg for the Ariane 5ECA rocket, the 73rd launch for the giant rocket system (and the 39th use of Ariane by SES).

Astra 5B will go to 31.5 deg East. The satellite also carries a special payload called EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Scheme) which is a key part of the European Galileo GPS system.

Amazonas 4A was the eighth satellite launched by Arianespace for Spain, and the sixth for Hispasat. It is part of the Amazonas relay platform series that is expanding Hispasat’s business over South America.

SES Chief Technology Officer Martin Halliwell in his after-mission speech at the Spaceport’s control center. “It’s really down to the professionalism and the excellence, which is expressed by those entire teams, that makes what is extremely complicated-technically look routine,” he stated. “It looked so calm and looked so easy…and it isn’t. It is really due to the extreme professionalism of the teams that make this happen. So I really commend you for that.”

Hispasat President Elena Pisonero gave thanks to those involved in her company’s Amazonas 4A project and tonight’s successful launch. Addressing Stéphane Israël in French, she called Arianespace’s performance “exceptional” in congratulating the company. “I would like to thank Arianespace, which put the final touches on this project,” she said. “Its exceptional professionalism never disappoints the trust we placed in this company. With its prestige and reputation, this is why we hope to continue collaborating with Arianespace for our next satellite project.”

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