June 28th will see Arianespace launch two satellites in a somewhat unusual set of circumstances. Weather permitting, the actual launch will take place from Kourou, French Guiana on June 28th.
But the mission is complex. The rocket will carry two satellites, but one of the satellites is a so-called ‘condominium’ craft which is two satellites in one. In fact, the HellasSat-3 portion is owned by Arabsat, which arguably makes the overall mission almost a ‘three in one’ set of obligations.
HellasSat-3 is half of a satellite, and where the rest of the satellite is owned by Inmarsat.
The second actual satellite is owned by India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and dubbed GSAT-17.
HellasSat-3 will expand the overall DTH offering as well as backing up existing transmissions and provide telecom capacity. HellasSat says there is now extra bandwidth for HD and UHD channels and also serve the Middle East and sub-Saharan markets.
Inmarsat’s S-EAN (S-band and European Aviation Network) satellite will provide continent-wide coverage with S-band connectivity, and as part of Inmarsat’s obligations to the European Commission. The IUnmarsat craft will serve Mobile Satellite Services over Europe. HellasSat-3 and Inmarsat’s S-EAN will be placed at 39 degrees East.
However, Inmarsat’s plan is already subject to a legal challenge from Eutelsat and ViaSat of California who allege that Inmarsat is in breach of its license from the EU.
ISRO’s GSAT-17 will add to the operator’s existing fleet of 17 operational satellites, and will operate in C-band, as well as S-band.
The pre-launch readiness tests will take place on June 26th.