A giant Ariane 5-ECA rocket successfully lifted off its heaviest-ever commercial payload on June 18th.
The rocket launched two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit. The much heavier of the pair was EchoStar-18 for the Colorado-based satellite operator. The second passenger was a satellite for an Indonesian bank. Both satellites were built by Space Systems/Loral.
Combined, they weighed a total of 10,720 kgs, made up of 9,840 kgs for the actual satellites and the rest for the dispenser system which carries the two spacecraft.
The 42-minute journey represented Ariane’s third flight this year and its 72nd success, and the 230th launch of the Ariane family of rockets.
EchoStar-18 will operate from Dish Network’s 110 degrees West position, and is carrying spot-beams to additionally provide service to Hawaii and Alaska as well as the Continental USA.
The bank’s satellite is BRIsat, and from its position at 150.5 degrees East it will provide secure communications for P.T. Bank Rakyat Indonesia’s 10,600 branches and 237,000 ATMs. “We are proud to be the first and only bank in the world that owns and operates a satellite,” said BRI CEO Asmawi Syam. “It’s not only a proud moment for BRI, but also for our country, Indonesia.”