Press Release

Arianespace Flight 161: A successful mission for Australia and Japan

By SpaceRef Editor
June 11, 2003
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Arianespace today orbited two
geostationary communications satellites: Optus and Defence C1 for the
Australian operator Optus and the Australian Department of Defence, and
BSAT-2c for the Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) of Japan
under terms of a turnkey contract with Orbital Sciences Corporation of the
United States.

Twelfth successful launch

With its 12th successful mission, the Ariane 5 Generic launcher confirmed
its technical and operational maturity.

This latest success comes two months after the previous Ariane 5 flight —
which also orbited a dual-satellite payload, and less than 10 days after
Starsem’s successful Soyuz commercial mission with the European Space
Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft.

Several days prior to launch, a ministerial-level ESA Council meeting
authorized the Ariane 5 support plan and approved construction of a Soyuz
launch pad at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport. These decisions
give Arianespace the means to operate a full range of launch vehicles that
respond to all client requirements.

Prestigious customers: Australia, Japan and the United States
The choice of Ariane by major space telecom manufacturers and operators in
the United States, Japan and Australia clearly reflects international
recognition of Arianespace’s top-flight launch service.

Optus and Defence C1 is the second Australian satellite to be launched by
Ariane. In September 1987, Ariane orbited the Aussat K3 satellite, while
Singtel — the parent company of operator Optus — had its ST-1 spacecraft
launch by Ariane in 1998.

BSAT-2c is the 19 satellite launched by Ariane for Japan, and the fifth for
telecom operator B-SAT — following BSAT-1a on Flight 95, BSAT-1b on Flight
108, and BSAT-2a and BSAT-2b on Flights 140 and 142. BSAT-2C is the fifth
satellite built by Orbital Sciences Corporation to be launched by
Arianespace using an Ariane 5 since March 2001.

Flight 161 at a glance

Flight 161 was carried out by an Ariane 5 Generic launcher from Europe’s
Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Wednesday, June 11, 2003
at 7:38 p.m. local time in Kourou (22H38 GMT, 6:38 p.m. in Washington, D.C.,
12:38 am in Paris on June 12, and at 7:38 am in Tokyo and 8:38 am in Sydney
on June 12).

Provisional parameters at injection of the storable propellant upper stage

  • Perigee: 590 km for a target of 590 km (±3 km)
  • Apogee: 35,798 km for a target of 35,826 km (±160 km)
  • Inclination: 7.00 degrees for a target of 6.99 degrees (±0.06?)

Optus and Defence C1: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation of Japan is the prime
contractor, and is responsible for all communications systems. Space Systems
Loral of the United States designed, assembled and integrated the bus and
satellite system.

Weighing about 4,725 kg at liftoff, it will be positioned at 156 degrees
East. Equipped with 24 Ku-band transponders, it will provide commercial
communications services for Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and
Hawaii. It also carries 4 X-band transponders, 4 Ku-band transponders and 6
UHF channels to provide dedicated links for the Australian Department of

Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia using the Star-1
platform, BSAT-2c weighed 1,275 kg at liftoff. It will be positioned at 110
degrees East. Equipped with 4 Ku-band transponders, it will provide direct
TV broadcast services throughout Japan over its design life of 10 years.
Over 16 million households receive programs broadcast by the B-SAT

SpaceRef staff editor.