Arianespace readies Intelsat pair for launch
August 19, 2016
By Chris Forrester
Next week on August 24th, two Intelsat satellites are scheduled to be launched by a single Arianespace rocket.
Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 are the rocket’s two important passengers. Its two payloads will be the 57th and 58th satellites lofted by Arianespace for Intelsat, continuing a relationship that began in 1983 as the US-based operator developed a network to deliver high-quality, cost-effective video and broadband services worldwide.
Designated Flight VA232, the mission will be Arianespace’s sixth launch in 2016, and the fourth using a heavy-lift Ariane 5 this year.
During preparation activity for Flight VA232 in the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building, Intelsat 36 was installed atop the Ariane 5’s core stages last Friday, positioning the 3,250-kg.-class spacecraft as the mission’s lower passenger.
It was followed during this past weekend by the lowering of the launcher’s ‘composite’ – consisting of Intelsat 33e, together with Ariane 5’s SYLDA dual-payload deployment system and the protective payload fairing – into position over Intelsat 36.
Deployed first during the mission to geostationary transfer orbit, Intelsat 33e – which has an estimated lift-off mass of 6,600 kg. – is the second satellite in Intelsat’s next-generation high-throughput Intelsat Epic NG series. It joins Intelsat 29e, launched by Arianespace aboard another Ariane 5 in January.
Built by Boeing using a 702MP spacecraft platform and operating from an orbital slot of 60 deg. East, Intelsat 33e’s Ku- and C-band coverage will meet broadband demand for carrier-grade telecom services, enterprise networks, aeronautical connectivity and certain media services.
The satellite’s Ku-band spot beams are to provide broadband services for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, while a Ku-band wide beam provides broadcast coverage of Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Its C-band spot beams will cover high traffic telecommunications centres in Europe, Central Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia; while a C-band wide beam is to deliver coverage over sub-Saharan Africa for data and media services.
Intelsat 36 will cover South Africa and the Indian Ocean regions. Completing Arianespace’s Flight VA232 at 41 minutes after lift-off will be the separation of Intelsat 36, which is designed to enhance Intelsat’s media neighbourhoods serving the South African and Indian Ocean region.
Manufactured by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) on a 1300 platform, its Ku-band payload was built to support the MultiChoice direct-to-home service in South Africa. Intelsat 36’s C-band relay capacity provides in-orbit resilience for the company’s video content distribution neighbourhood at the orbital slot of 68.5° East – where the satellite will be co-located with Intelsat 20, which was launched by Arianespace in August 2012.