Arianespace launched the Eutelsat 65 West A relay satellite on 9th March – extending to 71 the heavy-lift vehicle’s streak of consecutive successes. The Eutelsat payload had the distinction of being a single telecommunications satellite on a dedicated Ariane 5 flight – compared to the typical dual-payload configuration for this launcher on missions to geostationary transfer orbit.
Eutelsat 65 West A – which had a liftoff mass of 6,564kg. – combines broad coverage in C- and Ku-bands for video distribution, cellular backhaul and direct-to-home broadcasting with a high-throughput payload for broadband access in the Ka-band. The spacecraft will operate from an orbital position of 65 deg. West, where it will serve expanding markets in Brazil and across Latin America.
The satellite was 525th satellite overall to be launched by Arianespace, and the 31st orbited by the company on behalf of Paris-based Eutelsat Communications. The Arianespace backlog currently includes three further Eutelsat satellites.
Estimated orbital parameters at injection of the cryogenic upper stage were:
* perigee: 249.8km (target 250.0km),
* apogee: 35,909km (35,896km),
* inclination: 0.48deg (0.50deg).
Designated VA229, the mission was the second performed this year, following the launch of Intelsat 29e on January 27. Arianespace is targeting as many as 12 missions during the year using its full launcher family, which includes the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega vehicles. Ariane 5 is aiming for a total of eight launches.
The company’s next mission is scheduled for April 22, when Soyuz will deliver another spacecraft for the European Commission’s Copernicus program – Sentinel-1B – accompanied by auxiliary payloads.