Press Release

Flight 161: Ariane 5 scores another dual-payload success!

By SpaceRef Editor
June 12, 2003
Filed under , ,

Arianespace’s Ariane 5 Generic launcher logged its 12th successful mission
this evening, placing a dual-satellite payload into geostationary transfer
orbit for Australia and Japan.

Despite brief countdown hold resulting from cloudy and rainy weather
conditions, Flight 161’s launch vehicle lifted off from the Spaceport in
French Guiana this evening, carrying the BSAT-2c and Optus and Defence C1

The Optus and Defence C1 satellite was released at approximately 28 minutes
into the mission, followed seven minutes later by BSAT-2c. Flight 161 once
again underscored Arianespace’s capability to combine two payloads on the
same launcher, using the performance capabilities of Ariane 5.

"This launch is a representation of Arianespace’s involvement and dedication
to the Asian market," Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said after the
successful mission. "We are very proud to serve two important customers from
this part of the world."

Optus and Defence C1 was designed, assembled and integrated by Mitsubishi
Electric Corporation of Japan as prime contractor, and by Space Systems
Loral USA and Raytheon Systems Company USA as major subcontractors. It is to
be positioned at 156 deg. East over Melanesia, and will provide commercial
communications service to Australia, New Zealand, East Asia and Hawaii for
Australian telecom operator Optus. The spacecraft also will serve the
Australian Department of Defence with dedicated links in UHF, X-band and

With a liftoff mass of approximately 4,725 kg., the satellite is designed
for an operational lifetime of 15 years.

Optus and Defence C1 is the second Australian satellite to be launched by
Ariane, following the Aussat K3 satellite that was orbited in September
1987. In addition, Ariane launched the ST-1 spacecraft in 1998 for
Singapore’s Singtel — which is the parent company of telecom operator

The BSAT-2c payload carried today by Flight 161 was built by Orbital
Sciences Corporation of the U.S., which manufactured the 1,275-kg. satellite
for the Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) of Japan. The
spacecraft will provide direct digital TV broadcast links throughout Japan
from an orbital position of 110 deg. over the island of Borneo. Its
operational lifetime is 10 years.

BSAT-2c was the 19 satellite launched by Ariane for Japan, and the fifth for
B-SAT. BSAT-2C also was the fifth Orbital Sciences Corp.-built spacecraft
lofted by Arianespace using an Ariane 5 since March 2001.

In his post-launch remarks, Arianespace CEO Le Gall acknowledged the
important decisions taken at the European Space Agency’s May 27
ministerial-level council meeting. During the session in Paris, ministers
approved the Ariane launcher consolidation plan and the European Guaranteed
Access to Space program, along with the reorganization with the Ariane’s
industrial partners to enhance competitiveness and construction of a Soyuz
launch pad at the Spaceport.

"These decisions will enable Arianespace to meet all customer requirements
by offering a range of launchers – Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, which cover all
commercial and government missions," Le Gall said. "Arianespace is, and will
continue to be, the reference launch service provider."

Arianespace’s next mission is targeted for late August, when an Ariane 5G
will carry a satellite trio: the INSAT-3C telecom and TV broadcast
spacecraft for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the e-BIRD
telecom platform for Eutelsat, and the Smart-1 advanced research and
technology testbed for the European Space Agency.

SpaceRef staff editor.