Arianespace’s flawless first launch of 2019 took two satellites into orbit on February 6th. It was the 103rd Ariane 5 mission.
In the upper position of the rocket, a Saudi Arabian Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4, also called HS- 4/SGS-1, was a geostationary condosat for KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology Saudi Arabia) and Arabsat-owned Hellas Sat.
HS- 4/SGS-1 will provide telecommunication capabilities, including television, Internet, telephone and secure communications in the Middle East, South Africa and Europe, Arianespace said. HellasSat will serve some 3 million DTH homes. The satellite will be placed at 39 degrees East alongside HellasSat 3.
Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSat-31, actually ISRO’s 40th communications satellite, was the second “passenger” on the rocket and placed into its transfer orbit in an overall 42 minute flight from the Kourou, French Guiana space centre.
GSAT-31 is a “high power” communication satellite with Ku-band, and it is going to serve and replace some of the satellites that are going to expire soon, said Satish Dhawan Space Centre’s (SDSC) Director S Pandian said at Kourou soon after the launch. After separation from the Ariane-5 rocket, the two solar arrays of GSAT-31 were automatically deployed in quick succession and ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-31 and found its health parameters normal, it said.
With a mission life of around 15 years, GSAT-31 will be used for supporting VSAT networks, Television uplinks, Digital Satellite News Gathering, DTH-television services, cellular backhaul connectivity and many such applications.