Arianespace and one of its major historical customers took advantage of World Satellite Business Week to announce the signature of a new launch contract, using the future European heavy launcher.
Four decades of history
The love affair between American telecommunications satellite operator Intelsat and European space launchers has now lasted 40 years : on October 19, 1983, on its third commercial flight, an Ariane 1 rocket placed the fifth-generation Intelsat V F-7 (Intelsat 507) satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
Since then, more than 60 satellites have been entrusted to the Ariane family by Intelsat, the latest of which, Galaxy 35 and 36, were loaded onto Ariane 5 in December 2022 during its antepenultimate mission (VA259).
Mini satcom as auxiliary passenger
On September, at the World Satellite Business Week organized in Paris by Euroconsult, Arianespace and Intelsat announced the signing of a contract for the launch of the Intelsat 45 system (IS-45) aboard the future Ariane 6 European heavy launcher, in its A64 version (equipped with four boosters).
With a launch mass of around one tonne, IS-45 is the first small geostationary telecommunications satellite built by Swiss company Swissto12 on the basis of its HummingSat platform.
The IS-45 launch mission is scheduled for the first half of 2026, and will be shared with co-passengers.
IS-45 will be the third Intelsat payload entrusted to Ariane 6, following the IS 41 and 44 satellites (built by Thales Alenia Space on the new flexible Space Inspire platform), for which the launch contract was signed in November 2022, for stationing in 2025.
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