Ariane 5 rocket to boost satellites for Latin America
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: October 16, 2014
Two telecommunications satellite for Latin America are counting down to liftoff Thursday aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana.
Thursday's launch window extends for 51 minutes.
Heading east over the Atlantic Ocean, and surpassing the speed of sound in 42 seconds after liftoff, the Ariane 5 rocket will release its two solid rocket boosters, jettison a clamshell-like nose cone covering the Intelsat 30 and Arsat 1 satellites, and exhaust its first stage propellant in the first 9 minutes of the flight.
An upper stage HM7B engine will ignite and consume a mix of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants for nearly 16 minutes to reach an egg-shaped geostationary transfer orbit with an altitude ranging from a high point of 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) to a low point of 155 miles (250 kilometers) with an inclination of 6 degrees.
Thursday's Ariane 5 flight, called VA220 in Arianespace's launch naming scheme, will mark the heavy-lift launcher's fifth mission this year.
Intelsat 30 will ride in the Ariane 5 rocket's upper berth, heading for a 15-year mission to provide Ku-band direct television services for DirecTV Latin America and C-band services for Intelsat's own business in Latin America.
Intelsat 30, also known as Intelsat DLA-1, will raise its orbit to geostationary altitude 22,300 miles over the equator. Its final operating position will be at 95 degrees west longitude.
Arsat 1 is destined to be positioned in geostationary orbit at 71.8 degrees west longitude.
The 6.9-ton Intelsat 30 satellite was manufactured by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., and carries 72 Ku-band transponders and 10 C-band transponders.
DirecTV Latin America is leasing the spacecraft's Ku-band capacity -- along with 72 more Ku-band transponders on sister satellite Intelsat 31 set for launch next year -- to grow the company's television broadcasting portfolio in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Built by INVAP, an Argentine high-tech contractor, the 6,580-pound Arsat 1 spacecraft is designed for a 15-year mission. The satellite's operator is Arsat, a national telecom company backed by the government of Argentina.
The Arsat 1 project reportedly cost about $250 million.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.