Positioned atop its mobile launch table, Ariane 5 is moved to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 complex in preparation for Arianespace’s May 27 mission.
Arianespace’s heavy-lift launcher has moved to its launch zone in French Guiana for the May 27 dual-passenger Ariane 5 flight with DirecTV-15 for DIRECTV and SKY México’s SKY México-1.
During activity at the Spaceport today, Ariane 5 was transferred atop its mobile launch table from the Final Assembly Building – where payload integration occurred – to the dedicated ELA-3 launch complex.
This step paves the way for tomorrow’s mission – designated Flight VA223 in Arianespace’s numbering system – which is planned to liftoff in a one-hour, 24-minute launch window that opens at 6:16 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
As Flight VA223’s upper passenger, DirecTV-15 – built by Airbus Defence and Space – will be deployed first in the flight sequence at nearly 28 minutes after liftoff.
Approximately 10 minutes later, the Orbital ATK, Inc.-produced SKY México-1 – which is riding in Ariane 5’s lower position – is to be separated, completing the flight sequence.
Underscoring the company’s sustained operational pace at the Spaceport this year, Flight VA223 will be Arianespace’s fourth total launch in 2015 for its complete launcher family, following one previous mission each for Ariane 5, the medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega.
Arianespace launches two commercial satellites
for the Americas on Ariane 5
On its fourth launch of the year, the second with Ariane 5, Arianespace successfully launched two direct TV broadcast satellites for high definition and 4K ultra high definition services: DIRECTV 15, for the operator DIRECTV, and SKYM-1 for the operator SKY Mexico, a new customer part of DIRECTV Group, serving the Latin American market.
Arianespace's fourth launch of the year took place today at 06:16 pm local time from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.
The second Ariane 5 mission of the year reflects the ongoing confidence of major operators in the exceptional performance and reliability of the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launch vehicle in the Arianespace family.
Dedicated to HD and 4K Ultra HD services for the Americas
Built by Airbus Defence and Space, DIRECTV 15 is the most powerful direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcast satellite in the United States. It will offer new 4K ultra-high definition direct TV broadcast services to customers in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Built by Orbital ATK, SKYM-1 is a direct TV broadcast satellite for SKY Mexico, member of the DIRECTV family, the leading provider of pay television services in Mexico. SKYM-1 will provide high-definition DTH services for Mexico, Central America and the Carribbean. It offers a design life in orbit of 15 years.
Twenty-two years ago, Arianespace launched the first DIRECTV satellite, DBS-1. The satellites launched today, DIRECTV 15 and SKYM-1, are the eighth and ninth satellites launched by Arianespace for DIRECTV. Arianespace has one more DIRECTV satellite to be launched, SKY Brasil-1.
Arianespace a leader in the U.S. launch services market
With this latest launch for operators based in the Americas, Arianespace consolidates its leadership in the U.S., based on:
- 82 geostationary and 69 non-geostationary satellites launched for U.S. operators and U.S. customers.
- 169 satellites launched by Arianespace were built in the U.S.
- 70% market share for Arianespace of the commercial geostationary satellites to be launched for U.S. operators.
Mission facts & figures
- 65th successful Ariane 5 mission in a row
- 508th and 509th satellites launched by Arianespace
- 264th launch by the Arianespace family of launchers.
Shortly after the announcement that the two satellites had been injected into orbit, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said: "Arianespace is very proud of having orbited two DTH satellites this evening, on our fourth mission of the year, for operators and customers in the Americas.
"I would like to thank our customers, DIRECTV for their continued confidence after the successful launches of DLA-1 and DIRECTV-14 in 2014, and SKY Mexico, member of the DIRECTV family, which entrusted us and Ariane 5 with the launch of its first satellite. Congratulations as well to the two satellite manufacturers, Airbus Defence and Space for DIRECTV 15 and Orbital ATK for SKYM-1.
"And of course I would like to thank all European companies who contribute to the production of this remarkable launch vehicle, under the direction of our prime Airbus Safran Launchers. Thanks to ESA, contracting authority for the Ariane program, and French space agency CNES, as well as all companies and teams operating at the Guiana Space Center, who worked so hard to ensure this 65th consecutive launch success of Ariane 5. I would also like to congratulate the Arianespace’s teams, whose commitment and professionalism have allowed us to extend the successes of 2014 into 2015."