The Arianespace company celebrated its third successful launch of 2010, as an Ariane 5 rocket on flight V196 thundered into space on August 4 from the Spaceport launch complex in Kourou, French Guiana.
Aboard the rocket were two satellites that will provide telecommunications services to Africa, the Middle East and Persian Gulf states: NILESAT 201 for Egyptian-based Nilesat, and RASCOM-QAF1R for the Pan-African satellite operator, RascomStar-QAF. Both spacecraft were built by Thales Alenia Space.
The heavy-lift Ariane 5 delivered an estimated total payload lift performance of 7,085 kg, which included 6,250 kg for the NILESAT 201 and RASCOM-QAF1R satellites, plus their integration hardware and the SYLDA 5 dual-payload dispenser system.
NILESAT 201 was released first in the flight sequence, being deployed from the top of Ariane 5’s payload “stack” at just under 29 minutes into the mission. With a lift-off mass of about 3,200-kg, the satellite carries 24 Ku-band and 4 Ka-band transponders, and is to be positioned at an orbital slot of 7 deg. West. It will provide direct television broadcasting for the Middle East, Africa and Gulf states, and also has the relay capability to open new markets such as broadband Internet access.
The RASCOM-QAF1R platform weighed approximately 3,050 kg at lift-off and is to be operated from an orbital position of 2.85 degrees East. It is designed to deliver communications services to rural parts of Africa, including long-distance domestic and international links, direct TV broadcasts and Internet access.
Three more Ariane 5 flights planned for the rest of this year. In addition, preparations continue for the upcoming introductions of the Soyuz and Vega launchers at the Spaceport.
Adapted from information issued by Arianespace.
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