Ariane 5 notched up another flawless launch on 5th October, marking its 74th straight success and equaling the record set by the Ariane 4 launcher from 1995 to 2003. The flight from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana, carried the Sky Muster II satellite for Australian operator nbn (National Broadband Network) and the GSAT-18 satellite for the Indian space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).
It was the eighth flight of the year for Arianespace and the fifth by an Ariane 5 launcher.
Sky Muster II (6,405kg) is the second satellite launched by Arianespace for nbn, owned by the Commonwealth of Australia. It is also the eighth satellite that Arianespace has launched for Australia, following Aussat 3, Optus C1/D1/D2/D3 and 10, and Sky Muster I, launched in September 2015.
Sky Muster II will help extend high-speed internet service to the entire country, including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands, in conjunction with the services currently delivered by Sky Muster™ I.
GSAT-18 (3,404kg) is the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace. It will provide telecommunications services for India and bolsters ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites. The current Arianespace order book includes two ISRO satellite launches in 2017: GSAT-11 and GSAT-17.