Press Release

Flight 148: Intelsat 904 rides into orbit on Ariane 4

By SpaceRef Editor
February 23, 2002
Filed under , ,

Arianespace’s second launch of 2002 marked another flawless
performance for Ariane 4, as the workhorse vehicle placed Intelsat 904
satellite into a highly accurate geostationary transfer orbit during
an early morning mission today.

Lifting off on schedule at 3:59 a.m. local Kourou time, the Ariane
44L climbed away from the ELA-2 launch site under the power of its
four first stage engines and the additional thrust of four strap-on
liquid boosters.

Flight 148 marked the 20th Ariane launch of an Intelsat satellite and
the 109th mission of an Ariane 4.

Speaking at Intelsat’s Washington, D.C. headquarters – where the
Arianespace launch video broadcast was shown live to employees and
guests – Intelsat CEO Conny Kullman said today’s mission was another
important step in the company’s transition “from a satellite-centric
pioneer to a network-centric commercial telecommunications operator.”

Intelsat 904 is the latest Intelsat IX-series satellite, and will be
positioned at 60 deg. East over the Indian Ocean. This spacecraft will
provide wide-area coverage with beams over Europe, Central Asia, the
Far East and Australia. The first Intelsat IX platform, Intelsat 901,
was launched by Arianespace Flight 141 last June, and was followed by
Intelsat 902 on Flight 143 in August.

Arianespace Chief Operating Officer Jean-Yves Le Gall thanked all the
teams involved in today’s successful mission, and added that activity
at the Spaceport continues in full swing as Arianespace moves ahead
with its busy launch schedule for 2002.

The next launch is only five days away, when the first Ariane 5 of the
year will be used to orbit Europe’s massive Envisat Earth observation
platform. Envisat has been integrated atop its Ariane 5, and all is on
schedule for the evening liftoff on February 28.

Preparations for the next Ariane 4 mission also are well advanced,
with the Ariane 44L nearly completed for Flight 149 in the second half
of March. This will be a dual satellite mission, carrying payloads
from Japan and Europe.

In addition, preparations are continuing for fueling tests of the new
upper stage that will power the uprated version of Ariane 5 with a
10-ton payload capability into geostationary transfer orbit. For these
tests, a mockup Ariane 5 will be used to check out the launch pad
fueling procedures that will be used with the ESC-A upper stage.

The Spaceport’s capability to handle numerous missions in parallel was
underscored by yesterday’s arrival of the Spot 5 Earth resources
satellite in French Guiana. This spacecraft will start its final
checkout process in preparation for an upcoming Arianespace mission.

SpaceRef staff editor.