May 28, 2015 — Ariane 5 has been successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana, for the 65th time in a row, once again confirming the reliability of the European launcher.
With this launch, DIRECTV 15, the 100thgeostationary telecommunications satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space, has been delivered into orbit. The company is prime contractor for both the launcher and the satellite.
“This launch once more highlights the expertise and competitiveness of Airbus Defence and Space for telecommunications satellites and the Ariane 5 launcher,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “We would like to thank Arianespace, which markets the launches and operates the range of European launcher systems at the Guiana Space Centre, our customer DIRECTV for having selected us to build the spacecraft, as well as our industrial and institutional partners.”
“DIRECTV will use this powerful satellite to lead the introduction of UltraHD 4K video services in the US, in the same way we led the introduction of HD services in the US in 2005,” said Phil Goswitz, Senior Vice President, Space and Communications, DIRECTV. “Airbus Defence and Space delivered this very critical and remarkably powerful satellite one month ahead of schedule and met all the commitments they made to us. That is simply magnificent execution. DIRECTV congratulates our key partners at Airbus Defence and Space on their 100th communications satellite.”
The required performance for this 223rd Ariane flight was to transport 9,960 kg into geostationary transfer orbit, including 9,200 kg for the two satellites on board (DIRECTV 15 and SKYM-1). The remaining mass was for the SYLDA (Système de Lancement Double Ariane) dual launch system and the satellite integration hardware.
Airbus Defence and Space is the single prime contractor for the European Ariane 5 launcher, one of the largest and most ambitious space programmes in the world. It has been prime contractor on the programme since 2003. As a 50% shareholder in Airbus Safran Launchers, the company currently oversees an industrial network that brings together more than 550 companies (more than 20% of which are SMEs) in 12 European countries. It also manages the entire industrial supply chain, from the manufacture of equipment and stages to the complete integration of the launcher in French Guiana, in line with the customer’s specifications. Drawing on the expertise Airbus Defence and Space has acquired and the investments it has made over a period of more than 10 years, Ariane 5 has become the most reliable commercial launcher on the global market and has increased its geostationary orbit payload capacity by almost two tonnes. Representing cutting-edge European expertise, the Ariane 5 launcher has been specially designed to inject heavy payloads into orbit.