Press Release

Another successful Arianespace launch: Superbird-7 and AMC-21 in orbit

By SpaceRef Editor
August 15, 2008
Filed under , ,
Another successful Arianespace launch: Superbird-7 and AMC-21 in orbit

On Thursday evening, August 14, Arianespace orbited two communications satellites, primarily intended for TV broadcast services: Superbird-7 for Japanese operator Space Communications Corporation (SCC), within the scope of a contract with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO), and AMC-21 for American operator SES AMERICOM, a company of the SES group.

41st Ariane 5 launch, 27th success in a row, 9th mission in a 12 month period

The latest successful launch of an Ariane 5, the fifth in 2008, confirms that Arianespace’s launch Service & Solutions continue to set the global standard for all major space communications operators and manufacturers.

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

In addition to being the 41st launch of an Ariane 5, this flight marked the vehicle’s 27th consecutive success, and was the 9th mission performed during a 12 month period – clearly demonstrating the reality of Ariane 5’s augmented launch rate.

A launch for prestigious customers

Arianespace offers the best choice of launch solutions to meet the specific requirements of today’s leading operators.

Superbird-7 is the 7th Space Communications Corporation (SCC) satellite launched by Ariane, and the 23rd Japanese commercial satellite having chosen Arianespace. It is also the second satellite built by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) to be launched by Ariane 5.

AMC-21 is the 30th satellite launched by Arianespace for the SES group (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Bourse: SESG), the world’s leading satellite operator. The AMC-21 satellite will be operated by SES AMERICOM from the United States.

Superbird-7/AMC-21 mission at a glance

The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 5:44 pm local time in Kourou (4:44 pm in Washington, D.C.,20:44 UT, 10:44 pm in Paris, and on Friday, August 15, at 5:44 am in Tokyo).

  • Provisional parameters at injection of the cryogenic upper stage (ESC-A) were:
  • Perigee: 249.8 km for a target of 249.8 km (+/-4)
  • Apogee: 35,852 km for a target of 35,931 km (+/-240)
  • Inclination: 1.99 degrees for a target of 2.00 degrees (+/-0.06*)

Superbird-7 was built by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, the leading constructor of commercial satellites in Japan, at its plant in Kamakura, using a DS 2000 platform, within the scope of a turnkey contract with Japanese operator Space Communications Corporation (SCC). Weighing 4,820 kg at launch, it will be positioned at 144 degrees East. Superbird-7 is fitted with 28 Ku-band transponders, and is designed to provide mobile, cable TV and direct TV broadcast services for Japan, and telecommunications services for the entire Asia-Pacific region.

AMC-21 was built by Thales Alenia Space using a Star-2 platform from Orbital Sciences Corporation of the United States. It weighed about 2,500 kg at launch. Fitted with 24 high-power Ku-band transponders, AMC-21 will offer a minimum design life of 15 years. It will provide cable TV distribution and business services in the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America from its orbital position at 125 degrees West.

SpaceRef staff editor.