Early in the evening of April 22 (at 5.37pm in French Guiana) Arianespace successfully launched YahSat Y1A and Intelsat’s ‘New Dawn’ into orbit. Ariane’s Flight 201, its 43rd successful launch in a row, went flawlessly.
Both satellites will undergo in-orbit testing once they have reached their correct orbits. YahSat is the United Arab Emirates’ first satellite. It was built by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. Weighing a massive 5,935 kg at launch, Yahsat Y1A will provide services for both government (that is military) and commercial customers in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia. Yahsat Y1A will be positioned at 52.5 degrees East, and will offer its customers innovative broadband solutions for Internet, business data and high-definition television (HDTV) services. It has a design life of 15 years. It will be competing with Arabsat and Nilesat for local Middle East and North African business.
Intelsat’s New Dawn satellite, weighed 3,000 kg at liftoff, and offers a design life exceeding 15 years. Intelsat New Dawn satellite is owned by a joint venture between a consortium led by Convergence Partners and Intelsat. Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, it is fitted with 28 C-band and 24 Ku-band 36 MHz transponders. Positioned at 32.8 degrees East, it will offer a wide range of services for Africa, including Internet, media and data networks. Intelsat New Dawn is the first of eight satellites slated for launch over the next two years and is part of the largest satellite programme in Intelsat’s history. The investment programme is expected to provide enhanced high-powered capacity to Intelsat’s global fleet. Intelsat’s next launch is expected to be the Intelsat 18 satellite, slated for later in 2011.