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November 12, 2012

Arianespace Lofts EUTELSAT 21B, Star One C3 into Orbit

By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor


Another Friday night, another successful Ariane 5 launch.

Arianespace (News - Alert) put two satellites into orbit on November 10, marking the company's sixth Ariane 5 flight of 2012.

The mission lifted off at 6:05 p.m. local time from the Spaceport in France Guiana, carrying EUTELSAT 21B and Star One C3 (News - Alert) successfully into orbit. It was the 66th flight of Ariane 5 and the 210th launch of a European-built Ariane family vehicle, and was the fifty-seventh consecutive success of the Ariane 5.

EUTELSAT 21B was built by Thales (News - Alert) Alenia Space and is replacing EUTELSAT 21A, which will be shifted to another orbital slot and continue operation. The new satellite will reside at 21.5 degrees East and has 40 Ku-band transponders providing improved power and coverage across Europe into North Africa and Central Asia. It’s scheduled to enter commercial service in mid-December.

It also features two dedicated high-power beams covering northwest Africa and the Middle East/Central Asia regions.  

Another EUTELSAT – 70B – is scheduled for launch in December and will be the second of seven new satellites the company plants to put into orbit by mid-2015.

Launched for Brazilian-based Star One, Star One C3 will expand capacity and coverage between Miami and the entire South America region for TV, data and voice transmission services. The satellite was built by Orbital Sciences (News - Alert) corporation and has 28 C-band and 16 Ku-band transponders, enabling it to replace Brasilsat B3 currently operating at 75 degrees West. 

In addition, Star One C3 will provide coverage to the offshore waters of Brazil where new oil fields are planned for exploitation.

Arianespace's next flight is planned for November 30 from the French Guiana spaceport. A medium-lift Soyuz will be used to orbit the French Pléiades 1B dual-use, very-high-resolution imaging satellite. It will be the fourth launch of a Soyuz from French Guiana since its introduction at the Spaceport in October 2012.  

Pléiades 1B was built by Astrium for the French CNES space agency, and was designed to provide optical observation coverage for the French and Spanish defense ministries, civil institutions and private users.

The next Ariane 5 launch, VA211, is scheduled for December 19 and will carry Skynet 5D and Mexsat 3 into orbit. Skynet 5D will be operated by Astrium Services to provide secure X-band communications for the British armed forces, NATO, other European countries, the U.S. and Australia. Mexsat 3 will provide communications services for the Federal Government of Mexico to the country and its surrounding waters with a mix of 12 Ku-band and 12 C-band transponders.




Edited by Braden Becker



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