Sunday, August 7, 2011

Direct broadcast satellites get a boost - ASTRA 1N and BSAT-3/JCSAT-110R in orbit

Posted by- Neelam Mathews
Aug 7, 2011

Arianespace successfully launched two satellites mainly intended for direct-to-home (DTH) television broadcasting on Saturday, August 6.

The two satellites include ASTRA 1N for Luxembourg-based operator SES Astra, and BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R for U.S manufacturer Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, as part of a turnkey contract for the Japanese operators B-SAT Corporation and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.

This is the 203rd Ariane launch, 59th Ariane 5 launch, 45th success in a row for Ariane 5

This latest successful Ariane 5 launch, the fourth in 2011, once again proves the launcher’s operational capabilities. Ariane 5 handles a complete range of missions, from commercial launches into geostationary orbit to launches into special orbits, says a statement.

This was the 59th launch of an Ariane 5, and the 45th successful launch in a row.

Ariane 5 is the only heavy launcher now on the commercial market capable of simultaneously launching two payloads.

Over the last two decades, Arianespace and SES have developed an lasting relationship. ASTRA 1N is the 34th satellite from the SES group (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Bourse: SESG) to use the European launcher. SES operates the leading direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcast system in Europe, based on its Astra satellites, serving more than 135 million households via DTH and cable networks.

BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R is the 26th satellite for which Japanese operators have chosen the European launcher, and the 41st Lockheed Martin-built platform to be launched by Arianespace.

ASTRA 1N/BSAT-3C/JCSAT-110R mission at a glance

The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Saturday, August 6, at 7:52 pm local time in Kourou (6:52 pm in Washington, D.C., 22:52 UT, 00:52 am in Paris, on Sunday, August 7 and at 7:52 am in Tokyo).

Built by Astrium using a Eurostar E3000 platform, ASTRA 1N weighed about 5,350 kg at launch. Fitted with 52 active Ku-band transponders, ASTRA 1N will be positioned at 19.2 degrees East. It will deliver DTH TV broadcast services across Europe, and offers a design life of about 15 years.

BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems at its plant in Newtown, Pennsylvania, using an A2100 A platform. Weighing 2,910 kg at launch, it will be positioned at 110 degrees East in geostationary orbit, and offers a design life exceeding 16 years. The satellite is fitted with two sets of twelve 130 watt Ku-band transponders, and is primarily designed to provide direct TV broadcast links and telecommunications services for all of Japan.

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