Tuesday 18 February, Ariane 5 completed a flawless launch from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, orbiting two satellites: JCSAT-17, built by Lockheed Martin Space for SKY Perfect JSAT, and GEO-KOMPSAT-2B, designed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The launch marked Ariane 5’s 108th flight, its second mission in 2020 and the second this year from the CSG. It was also the 252nd flight in the Ariane series.
With a launch mass of 5,857 kilograms, JCSAT-17 is a geostationary telecommunications satellite that will deliver flexible, high-bandwidth communications to users in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. Its payload incorporates S-band, C-band and Ku-band transponders for satellite telecommunications services. The S-band and C-band transponders will serve NTT DOCOMO, Inc., the largest telecommunications company in Japan, to deliver its flexible mobile communications services in Japan and the surrounding region with support from SKY Perfect JSAT, a leader in the fields of broadcasting and telecommunications. SKY Perfect JSAT is a provider of both multi-channel pay TV broadcasting and satellite telecommunications services and delivers a broad range of entertainment through its SKY PerfecTV! platform, the most extensive in Japan. The satellite has an expected lifetime of 15 years.
With a launch mass of 3,379 kilograms, GEO-KOMPSAT-2B is the second satellite in the Korean government’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2 programme to develop and operate two civilian geostationary satellites: GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for meteorological and space weather monitoring missions, and GEO-KOMPSAT-2B for Earth environment and ocean monitoring missions. The GEO-KOMPSAT 2 programme is the successor to the COMS programme (Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite). GEO-KOMPSAT-2B carries two main payloads: GOCI II (Geostationary Ocean Color Imager II), supplied by Airbus Defence & Space, and GEMS (Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer), supplied by Ball Aerospace & Technologies. The satellite has an expected lifetime of more than 10 years.
After the launch, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “Another success for Ariane 5 on its 108th launch! I congratulate and thank all of the teams to whom we owe this success for their professionalism and expertise, at ESA, Arianespace, across the European launcher industry, at Lockheed Martin Space, SKY Perfect JSAT and KARI, and of course at CNES’s Launch Vehicles Directorate and the Guiana Space Centre.”