An Ariane 5 rocket successfully launched three satellites into geostationary transfer orbit on August 15th.
The rocket lifted off from French Guiana at 6.04pm Eastern time – after a 34-minute delay for weather to clear – and over the next 47 minutes deployed its three passengers.
Arianespace’s CEO Stéphane Israël said this was the heaviest cargo yet for Ariane.
The rocket’s passengers were Galaxy-30 for Intelsat. Built by Northrop Grumman which carries C-band as well as Ku and Ka-band frequencies (and an L-band payload for the US Federal Aviation Administration). The new satellite will replace Galaxy-14 which launched in 2009.
Japan’s BSAT-4b was also orbited (and backs up BSAT-4a which launched in 2017). Built by Maxar Technologies it is an all Ku-band craft and was designed to carry 4K and 8K signals over Japan for the Tokyo Olympics.
The third payload was the important MEV-2 from Northrop Grumman which will go the ‘rescue’ of Intelsat’s 10-02 satellite and give the Intelsat craft another five years of life. MEV-2 will ‘mate’ with Intelsat 10-02 but not until 2021.