by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Mar 15, 2011
Pre-launch checkout is continuing at the Spaceport in French Guiana for Intelsat New Dawn - the first-ever African private sector communications satellite - which is one of two spacecraft passengers to be orbited on Arianespace's next Ariane 5 mission, scheduled for March 29.
Equipped with C-band and Ku-band transponders designed specifically to supply critical communications infrastructure for African customers, Intelsat New Dawn will deliver wireless backhaul, broadband and media content - which are the fastest growing satellite-based applications in Africa.
The satellite was produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia, and will have a mass at liftoff of 3,000 kg. After its deployment by Ariane 5, the spacecraft will be positioned at a geostationary orbital slot at 32.8 degrees East for its Africa area coverage.
Intelsat New Dawn is the result of a joint venture with a consortium led by Convergence Partners and Intelsat, the world's leading provider of fixed satellite services and a long-time Arianespace customer.
Once in service, the satellite will be operated and marketed as a part of the global Intelsat fleet, bringing to 22 the number of Intelsat satellites serving Africa.
The Intelsat New Dawn spacecraft is to be orbited along with co-passenger Yahsat Y1A on another of Ariane 5's dual-payload flights, marking Arianespace's second mission of 2011 with the heavy-lift workhorse launcher.
This flight, designated VA201, will mark the 201st launch of an Ariane family vehicle since the maiden liftoff of an Ariane 1 version in 1979.
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