Arianespace performed its third Ariane 5 flight of 2010 to orbit another dual-satellite payload and also announced two new contracts – further underscoring the company’s leadership role in the commercial launch services sector.
The Ariane 5’s evening mission from the Spaceport successfully orbited two satellites that will provide telecommunications services to Africa, the Middle East and Persian Gulf states: NILESAT 201 for Egyptian-based Nilesat, and RASCOM-QAF1R for the Pan-African satellite operator, RascomStar-QAF. Both spacecraft were built by Thales Alenia Space.
During today’s mission, the heavy-lift Ariane 5 delivered an estimated total payload lift performance of 7,085 kg., which included 6,250 kg. for the NILESAT 201 and RASCOM-QAF1R satellites, plus their integration hardware and the SYLDA 5 dual-payload dispenser system.
Ariane 5's mission with NILESAT 201 and RASCOM-QAF1R was performed from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone.
Ariane 5 confirms its accuracy with an on-target delivery
Following its daytime liftoff from the Spaceport, the Ariane 5 provided another highly accurate payload delivery, with the following provisional orbital parameters for the injection of its cryogenic upper stage:
- Perigee: 248.4 km. for a target of 248.4 km.
- Apogee: 35,923 km. for a target of 35,919 km.
- Inclination: 2.00 deg. for a target of 2.00 deg.
NILESAT 201 was released first in the flight sequence, being deployed from the top of Ariane 5’s payload “stack” at just under 29 minutes into the mission. With a liftoff mass of about 3,200-kg., the satellite carries 24 Ku-band and 4 Ka-band transponders, and is to be positioned at an orbital slot of 7 deg. West. It will provide direct television broadcasting for the Middle East, Africa and Gulf states, and also has the relay capability to open new markets such as broadband Internet access.
RASCOM-QAF1R was the second payload that Arianespace has launched for RASCOM (the Regional African Satellite Communications Organization), which was created in the 1990s to implement, operate and maintain the space segment of an African telecommunications satellite system.
The RASCOM-QAF1R platform weighed approximately 3,050 kg. at liftoff and is to be operated from an orbital position of 2.85 degrees East. It is designed to deliver communications services to rural parts of Africa, including long-distance domestic and international links, direct TV broadcasts and Internet access.