Press Release

Arianespace Flight 161:A successful mission for Australia and Japan

By SpaceRef Editor
June 11, 2003
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Kourou,French Guiana,June 11, 2003- 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) ofJapanunder terms of a turnkey contract with Orbital Sciences Corporation of theUnited 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 theGuianaSpaceCenter,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,Japanand theUnited States

The choice of Ariane by major space telecom manufacturers and operators in theUnited States,JapanandAustraliaclearly 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 launched 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 fromEurope’s Spaceport in Kourou,French Guiana.  Liftoff was onWednesday, June 11, 2003at7:38 p.m.local time in Kourou (22:38 GMT,6:38 p.m.inWashington,D.C., and on June 12 at12:38 a.m.inParis, at7:38 a.m.inTokyoand8:38 a.m.inSydney).

Provisional parameters at injection of the storable propellant upper stage were:

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 degrees) 

Optus and Defence C1:Mitsubishi Electric Corporation ofJapanis the prime contractor, and is responsible for all communications systems. Space Systems/Loral of theUnited Statesdesigned, 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 forAustralia,New Zealand,Southeast AsiaandHawaii.  It also carries 4 X-band transponders, 4 Ku-band transponders and 6 UHF channels to provide dedicated links for the Australian Department of Defence.

BSAT-2C:Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation inDulles,Virginiausing 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 throughoutJapanover its design life of 10 years.  Over 16 million households receive programs broadcast by the B-SAT satellite.

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the commercial launch services leader, holding more than 50 percent of the international market for satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).  Created in 1980 as the world’s first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed contracts for the launch of more than 250 satellite payloads.  For further information, see the Arianespace Web site at

SpaceRef staff editor.