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Ariane 5 Launches Syracuse 3A (Oct 14)

KOUROU, French Guiana --- During the night of October 13 to 14, Arianespace placed two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit: the Syracuse 3A communications satellite for the French Ministry of Defense, and the Galaxy 15 high-definition TV satellite for the private American satcom operator PanAmSat.

19th successful Ariane 5G launch

Today's launch was the 19th successful mission for the standard Ariane 5G ("Generic") launcher, carrying on the successful launch last August of two missions only three days apart, an Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center and a Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This launch also provides further confirmation that the Arianespace launch family provides the best match with current operator requirements.

Military and civil telecoms

Syracuse 3A is the 24th military payload for the European launcher. Following the launch of Helios IIA in December 2004, Ariane 5 once again amply demonstrates its ability to handle the full spectrum of missions, in particular government launches for European defense.

Galaxy 15 is the 20th PanAmSat satellite to be launched by Arianespace's family of launch vehicles. The world's leading private satcom operator, PanAmSat is one of Arianespace's longest-standing customers, reaching back to the first Ariane 4 launch in June 1988.

Today, Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher in service capable of simultaneously launching two payloads.

The Ariane 5 Syracuse 3A & Galaxy 15 mission at a glance

The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5G launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Thursday, October 13 at 7:32 pm local time in Kourou (6:32 pm in Washington, DC, 22:32 GMT and on Friday, October 14 at 12:32 am in Paris).

Provisional parameters at injection of the Ariane 5's storable propellant upper stage (EPS) were:
--Perigee: 564.7km for a target of 564.7 km (± 3 km)
--Apogee: 35,853 km for a target of 35,866 km (± 160 km)
--Inclination: 35,853 km for a target of 35,866 km (± 0.06º)

Syracuse 3A is the first satellite in France's new third-generation Syracuse III system, dedicated to secure military communications. French defense procurement agency DGA (Délégation Générale pour l'Armement), part of the MoD, is in charge of this program, with management provided by the Observation, Telecommunications and Information Programs Department (SPOTI).

Alcatel Alenia Space and Thales Communications are joint prime contractors for the program. The Syracuse 3A satellite is designed by Alcatel Alenia Space, while Thales Communications is in charge of the ground segment, comprising some 600 networked ground stations. The satellite weighed about 3,700 kg at liftoff.

Galaxy 15, weighing approximately 2,000 kg at liftoff, is the third new-generation model that PanAmSat has ordered from Orbital Sciences Corporation to provide greater flexibility and availability to its customers.

Fitted with 28 C-band transponders, Galaxy 15 will deliver digital video programming, high-definition television (HDTV), video on demand (VOD) and HP (high priority) TV broadcasting services throughout the United States. The satellite will also have an L-band transponder to provide GPS services to U.S. commercial aircraft.

Arianespace Scores Dual Mission Success: Syracuse 3A & Galaxy 15 Are In Orbit