Arianespace to launch US communications satellites

9th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 9 (AFP) - Arianespace, the European commercial satellite launch company, announced Thursday it had won three contracts to launch US communications satellites.

PARIS, Sept 9 (AFP) - Arianespace, the European commercial satellite launch company, announced Thursday it had won three contracts to launch US communications satellites.  

Two contracts were signed with DIRECTV and one with PanAmSat, Arianespace said in a statement. No financial details were disclosed.  

The three new contracts confirm Arianespace's position as the leading launcher of commercial geostationary satellites.  

Under the first contract with DIRECTV, Arianespace will launch a Spaceway 2 satellite in April 2005. Weighing 6.1 tonnes, the Spaceway 2 is aimed at expanding direct satellite television and broadband services in the United States.  

The second contract with DIRECTV covers direct satellite television. No launch date has been set.   Both satellites are to be placed into orbit by Ariane 5 rockets from the European Space Agency's (ESA) launchpad in Kourou, French Guiana.  

The third contract, signed with US operator PanAmSat, will see the launch of a Galaxy XVII satellite.  

Built by Alcatel Space on the Spacebus 3000 BE platform, the satellite, with a launch weight of about 4.1 tonnes, will be used in television and telecommunications services across North America.  

It is to be launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou in late 2006 at the earliest.  

To date this year, Arianespace has signed seven launch contracts.  

Its subsidiary Starsem, which provides commercial launch services for the Russian rocket Soyuz, has signed two contracts with ESA for the launch of experimental satellites for Galileo, the future European satellite global positioning system.  

In terms of total satellite launch orders, Arianespace has 36 and Starsem has five.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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