KOUROU, French Guyana---Arianespace successfully kicked off its 2001 launch activity by orbiting Türksat 2A/Eurasiasat 1, an Alcatel Space communications satellite for Turkish operator Eurasiasat S.A.M.
Eurasiasat 1 will bridge the continents of Europe and Asia, providing communications links between Western Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Far East.
Türksat 2A/Eurasiasat 1 is the third Turkish satellite to be boosted into orbit by Ariane, following Türksat 1B in August 1994, and Türksat 1C in July 1996. The Türksat 2A/Eurasiasat 1 spacecraft is designed for a service life exceeding 15 years. Today's launch is part of a turnkey contract awarded by Eurasiasat S.A.M. to Alcatel Space. Based in Monaco, Eurasiasat S.A.M. is jointly owned by Turk Telekom and Alcatel Space.
Ariane continues to set the standard for reliability and availability. This first successful launch in 2001 marks the 60th consecutive successful launch of an Ariane 4.
Arianespace maintained a rapid-paced launch schedule in 2000, demonstrating its capability to adapt to customer satellite availability. In the year 2000, the launch services company orbited 16 communications satellites and four auxiliary payloads, using eight Ariane 4s and four Ariane 5s.
The next launch, Flight 139, is planned for February 7, when an Ariane 44L will carry two communications satellites into orbit: SICRAL of the SITAB consortium for the Italian Ministry of Defence and SKYNET 4Fof Astrium for the British Ministry of Defence.
Arianespace plans 10 other Ariane launches in 2001, bringing the year's total to 11. Following today's successful Flight 137, Arianespace's backlog stands at 35 satellites to be launched, plus 9 ATV launches for the International Space Station. (ends)
Arianespace Flight 137: First Success of the Millenium