Wednesday 5 October, Ariane 5 completed a flawless launch from Europe’s spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre, orbiting two telecommunications satellites, Sky MusterTM II for Australian operator nbn and GSAT-18 for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The flight marked the European launcher’s 74th straight success since 2003.
With a launch mass of 6,405 kilograms, Sky MusterTM II is a telecommunications satellite built by Space Systems Loral for operator nbn, a wholly-owned Australian Commonwealth company. Its mission is to help bridge Australia’s digital divide by delivering broadband Internet services to regional and remote Australia. It will complement the services already supplied by Sky MusterTM I, extending coverage across Australia, including the Norfolk, Cocos, Macquarie and Christmas Islands. The satellite has an expected service lifetime of more than 15 years.
- Sky MusterTM telecommunications satellite
With a launch mass of 3,404 kilograms, GSAT-18 is a telecommunications satellite built by the ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) for operator INSAT (Indian National Satellite). GSAT-18 will provide telecommunications services for India and strengthen ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecommunications satellites. The satellite has an expected service lifetime of at least 12 years.
- GSAT-18 telecommunications satellite
Commenting on the launch, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall said : “CNES is proud of this 74th straight success for Ariane 5, the undisputed world leader in satellite launch services. This is Ariane 5’s fifth flight of 2016, its 88th in all and the eighth launch this year from the CSG, a fantastic feat at the world’s most effective launch base.