Arianespace delivered 2 satellites to orbit with the launch of an Ariane 5 rocket from the Centre Spatial Guyanais, 6 August 2019 1930 UTC. The Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C satellites were successfully carried to geostationary transfer orbit.
Intelsat 39 is a replacement for Intelsat 902, launched in 2001. The 6600 kg, LS1300 satellite was built by Maxar in California, and will be located at 62° East to serve 3G/4G mobile services and traditional customers across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian Ocean region.
EDRS-C continues Europe’s SpaceDataHighway laser communications project, which delivers additional real-time communications capacity for polar-orbiting satellites and UAVs; it also hosts and traditional geotationary transponders.
EDRS-C will operate from 31° East. The 3186 kg SmallGEO satellite was manufactured by German firm OHG. The primary lasercomm payload operates at up to 1.8 Gb/s and is a project of DLR, the German space agency, and the Tesat-Spacecom division of Airbus. EDRS-C also carries secondary payload HYLAS-3, a steerable-beam transponder unit from Avanti Communications, designed to provide Internet throughput to Africa with 8 spotbeams, all routed to a single fully steerable primary link location, such as European data centres.
EDRS-C builds on 2016’s EDRS-A mission, which still operates and is hosted on Eutelsat 9B at 9° E. The EDRS network will continue to expand with the forthcoming EDRS-D satellite, scheduled for 2020, to be placed in a far-east orbital slot to serve the Asia-Pacific region.
The launch is welcome news for Arianespace, which failed to deliver the UAE’s FalconEye surveillance satellite on its solid-fuelled Vega launcher 11 July 2019; the full cause of that mission’s interstage failure is still under investigation, but the €369 million loss has already caused reinsurance firm Swiss Re to leave the insurance market for satellite launches.