KOUROU, French Guiana ---Arianespace today orbited the Intelsat 906 communications satellite for international communications provider Intelsat. This accurate early morning mission came one week after the latest successful launch of an Ariane 5.
22nd launch for Intelsat, Arianespace's first customer Intelsat 906 is the fifth satellite to be launched by Arianespace in the Intelsat IX series -- the new generation of satellites deployed by this global communications provider. It also was the 22nd Intelsat satellite carried by Ariane.
The collaboration between Arianespace and Intelsat goes back to 1983. Sixty percent of the Intelsat satellites in operation today were orbited by the European launcher, making the company Arianespace's largest customer.
The first series IX satellite, Intelsat 901, was launched by Arianespace on June 9, 2001 (Flight 141), followed by Intelsat 902 on August 30, 2001 (Flight 143), Intelsat 904 on February 23, 2002 (Flight 148) and by Intelsat 905 on June 5, 2002 (Flight 152).
One more Intelsat IX satellite is scheduled for an Arianespace launch in the beginning of 2003.
Flight 154 is Arianespace's 10th successful launch in 9 months. This steady pace reflects the regularity and quality of the Ariane system. Since the beginning of the year, Arianespace also has won nine out of the twelve launch contracts open to competition.
Upcoming launch: The launch preparation campaign for the next Ariane 5 mission began in Kourou on August 22. A 10-ton payload lift version of the Ariane 5 is slated to carry 2 European satellites: HOT BIRD(TM) 7 for Eutelsat and STENTOR for the French space agency, CNES.
Flight 154 at a glance: 71st consecutive Ariane 4 success Flight 154 was carried out by an Ariane 44L, the version of the launcher with four liquid-propellant strap-on boosters, from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on September 6, 2002 at 6:44 a.m. GMT (3:44 a.m. local time in Kourou, 8:44 a.m. in Paris and 2:44 a.m. in Washington, DC).
The Intelsat 906 satellite Built by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California, Intelsat 906 will be positioned at 64 degrees East. It will join Intelsat's fleet of satellites providing Internet connections, telephony, television and enterprise network services for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Weighing 4,723 kg at liftoff, Intelsat 906 is fitted with 72 C-band transponders and 22 Ku-band transponders (in 36 MHz unit equivalents). The payload was designed and built by Alcatel Space. Design life in orbit is more than 13 years.
Arianespace is the commercial launch services leader, holding more than 50 percent of the international market for satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Created in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has launched more than 200 satellite payloads.
-ends- Arianespace Flight 154: 10th success in 9 months, and Ariane's 22nd Launch for Intelsat