by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Sep 30, 2016
For its eighth mission of 2016, and the year's fifth Ariane 5 launch from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, Arianespace will orbit two satellites: Sky Muster II for the Australian operator nbn (National Broadband Network), and GSAT-18 for the Indian space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).
Sky Muster II and GSAT-18 will be the 542nd and 543rd satellites to be launched by Arianespace. This Ariane 5 flight will be the 280th mission performed by the Arianespace launcher family. The launch will be from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana. The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Friday, September 30, 2016 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.
Sky Muster II will be the second satellite launched by Arianespace for the Australian operator nbn owned by the Commonwealth of Australia, after the first Sky Muster spacecraft orbited in September 2015.
Sky Muster II reflects the country's political commitment to bridging the digital divide, especially in the rural and isolated regions of Australia. This new satellite will help extend high-speed internet to the entire country, including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands, in conjunction with the services already delivered by Sky Muster I.
Built by SSL (Space Systems Loral) in Palo Alto, California using a 1300 platform, Sky Muster II will be the 59th SSL satellite orbited by Arianespace - which has four more satellites from this manufacturer in its order book.
GSAT-18 will be the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by Arianespace. Since the launch of the Apple experimental satellite on Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has orbited 19 Indian satellites, winning 86% of the geostationary orbit launch contracts that the country has opened to non-Indian launch systems.
Built by ISRO, GSAT 18 will provide telecommunications services for India, strengthening ISRO's current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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