Despite a 45 minute delay during the countdown process, Arianespace lifted two Intelsat ‘condominium’ satellites into orbit late in the evening of September 25th.
The rocket launch, the 300th mission of the Ariane family of rockets and 100th flight of an Ariane 5, launched at 18.38 EDT (22.38 UTC) and carried two Intelsat satellites: the Horizons 3/Sky Perfect JSAT satellite which was in the ‘upper’ portion of the launch bay, and the lower passenger was the Intelsat 38/Azerspace-2 condominium craft.
Horizons 3e, weighing in at 6,411 kg, is a joint venture between Intelsat and Sky Perfect JSAT and is designed to complete the Intelsat EpicNG network’s global coverage and bring the next level of high-throughput services to the Asia-Pacific region while expanding coverage in the Pacific Ocean.
The satellite all-digital satellite featuring full beam interconnectivity in C- and Ku- bands to provide 30 GB per second of bandwidth for fixed and mobile customers from its geostationary location in the 169° East orbital location.
Horizons 3e was not originally manifested for this mission and was a last-minute replacement for India’s GSAT 11 spacecraft which was removed from the mission earlier this year when more pre-launch checkouts were deemed necessary.
Riding in the “lower passenger” position was the Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 multi-mission satellite.
Heading for a geostationary orbit in the 45° East orbital slot, Azerspace-2 will expand on the current capacity of the Azerspace-1 satellite and increase the total coverage area and spectrum of services provided by Azercosmos.
This expansion of current capabilities will be accomplished by placing Azerspace-2 just one orbital degree away from Azerspace-1, which is currently located in geostationary orbit at the 45° East location.
Azerspace-2 is the second geostationary satellite for Azerbaijan and will offer enhanced capacity, coverage, and services to support growing demand in the region for direct-to-home, government, and network services in Europe, Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.
As part of the multi-mission element of the satellite, the Intelsat 38 portion of the comm sat will provide Ku band capabilities and continuity of service for the Intelsat 12 satellite located in the 45° East location and will provide critical broadband connectivity for corporate network and government services in Africa.
Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 was built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a California-based company, and carries a designed lifetime of 15 years.