Arianespace - Flight VA231 Mission poster.
5 October 2016
Ariane 5’s Flight VA231 liftoff (illustration from Flight VA227 launch)
The Arianespace mission with Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18 is now underway following Ariane 5’s liftoff at 5:30 p.m. local time from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
Total lift performance for today’s launch is estimated at 10,660 kg., with the two satellites to be deployed during a flight lasting approximately 32 minutes.
Designated Flight VA231 in Arianespace’s numbering system, today’s dual-passenger mission was the 231st launch of an Ariane-series vehicle.
Launch of Heavy Ariane 5 with Sky Muster II & GSAT-18 (VA-231)
Arianespace supports Australian and Indian customers
Sky Muster™ II is the mission’s upper passenger and was released first in the flight sequence at 28 min. after liftoff. Produced by SSL (Space Systems Loral) for operator nbn™, it will help extend high-speed internet across Australia, including the country’s rural and isolated regions.
To be deployed from Ariane 5’s lower passenger position is GSAT-18, which was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to strengthen its current fleet of 14 operational telecommunications satellites. This spacecraft’s separation occured approximately 32 min. after liftoff – completing the October 4 mission.
As the fifth heavy-lift Ariane 5 flight so far in 2016, tomorrow’s launch continue a busy year of mission activity for Arianespace’s full family of launchers, which also has included two flights performed with the medium-lift Soyuz and one using the lightweight Vega.
Sky Muster™ II
Sky Muster™ II will be the second satellite launched by Arianespace for the Australian operator nbn owned by the Commonwealth of Australia, after the first Sky Muster™ spacecraft orbited in September 2015.
Sky Muster™ II reflects the country’s political commitment to bridging the digital divide, especially in the rural and isolated regions of Australia. This new satellite will help extend high-speed internet to the entire country, including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands, in conjunction with the services already delivered by Sky Muster™ I.
Sky Muster™ II will be the eighth satellite that Arianespace has launched for Australia, following Aussat 3, Optus C1/D1/D2/D3 and 10, and Sky Muster™ I.
Built by SSL (Space Systems Loral) in Palo Alto, California using a 1300 platform, Sky Muster™ II will be the 59th SSL satellite to be orbited by Arianespace – which has four more satellites from this manufacturer in its order book.
GSAT-18 will be the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace. Since the launch of the Apple experimental satellite on Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has won 86% of the geostationary orbit launch contracts that the country has opened to non-Indian launch systems.
Built by ISRO, GSAT 18 will provide telecommunications services for India, strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites.
ISRO fosters the use of space to help develop the Indian subcontinent. It focuses on all types of space applications, including Earth observation, telecommunications, broadcasts of educational programs, science and navigation.
The long-standing strategic partnership between ISRO and Arianespace reflects the strong relationship between India and France in the space sector.
After choosing Arianespace to launch its GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 satellites in 2015, ISRO selected Arianespace most recently to launch its GSAT-11 satellite. GSAT-17 and GSAT-11 will be orbited by 2017.
nbn website: http://www.nbnco.com.au/
SSL website: http://www.sslmda.com/
ISRO website: http://www.isro.gov.in/
Arianespace website: http://www.arianespace.com/
Images, Video, Text, Credits: Arianespace/ISRO/SSL.
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