Press Release

Arianespace boosts Intelsat 11 and Optus D2 into orbit

By SpaceRef Editor
October 5, 2007
Filed under ,

On Friday evening, October 5, Arianespace successfully orbited two communications satellites: Intelsat 11 for the international operator Intelsat, and Optus D2 for the Australian operator Optus. Both satellites were built by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

34th Ariane 5 launch, 20th success in a row

The latest successful launch of an Ariane 5, the fourth in 2007, confirms that Arianespace offers the launch Service & Solutions best matched to operator requirements.

Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher in service today capable of simultaneously launching two payloads. The Ariane 5 launcher gives Arianespace customers unrivaled performance, flexibility and competitiveness, and continues to set the global standard for launch services.

Two more Ariane 5 launches are scheduled by the end of the year.

Launches for leading operators

Arianespace’s selection by today’s leading satcom manufacturers and operators is clear international recognition of the company’s high-quality launch services.

Arianespace is particularly proud of its partnership with Intelsat. Since 1983, Arianespace has launched 47 satellites for this leading international operator. This is the second successful launch for Intelsat following last May’s launch of its Galaxy 17 satellite.

Optus D2 will be the fourth satellite launched by Arianespace for the Australian operator. It launched Optus D1 in October 2006, following Optus & Defence C1 in June 2003 and Aussat K3 in 1987. SingTel, the parent company of Optus, had already chosen Arianespace to launch its ST-1 satellite in 1998.

Record order book

Arianespace has signed 12 new Service & Solutions contracts for launches into geostationary transfer orbit this year, along with four contracts for low Earth orbit (LEO) launches, giving it, following this launch, a record backlog of orders:

  • 27 satellites to be launched into geostationary transfer orbit, using Ariane 5 and possibly Soyuz for the smaller spacecraft.
  • 11 government launches by Ariane 5, including nine for the ATV cargo vessel that will bring supplies to the International Space Station.
  • 10 Soyuz launches (four from Baikonur, six from the Guiana Space Center).

Intelsat 11/Optus D2 mission at a glance

The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 GS launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Friday, October 5, at 7:02 pm local time in Kourou (6:02 pm in Washington, DC, 22:02 UT, and on Saturday, October 6 at 00:02 am in Paris, and at 8:02 am in Sydney).

Provisional parameters at injection of the storable-propellant upper stage (EPS) were:

Perigee: 584.7 km for a target of 584.8 km (+/-4)

Apogee: 35,913 km for a target of 35,918 km (+/-240)

Inclination: 4.01 degrees for a target of 4.00 degrees (+/-0.06*)

The Intelsat 11 satellite was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation at its plant in Dulles, Virginia, using a Star 2 platform. Weighing about 2,500 kg at launch, the satellite is fitted with a hybrid payload comprising 34 high-power transponders, including 16 C-band and 18 Ku-band units. It offers 3.5 kW of electrical power. Positioned at 43 degrees West, Intelsat 11 will host Latin America’s premiere video programmers and the region’s largest DTH platform.

Optus D2 was also integrated by Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles using a Star 2 platform. Weighing about 2,350 kg at launch, it is fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders. Optus D2 will be positioned at 152 degrees East and has a design life of 15 years. It will provide direct TV broadcast, Internet, telephone and data transmission services for Australia and New Zealand.

SpaceRef staff editor.