Arianespace Lofts 3 Satellites to Orbit for ESA and Intelsat

An Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket launches MTG-I1 satellite for EUMETSAT and two Galaxy satellites for Intelsat. Photo: Arianespace

Arianespace launched satellites for Europe and Intelsat in a triple-payload Ariane 5 mission on Tuesday. The mission, one of the last for the Ariane 5 rocket, launched the MTG-I1 meteorological satellite and two C-band satellites. from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana at 3:30 pm ET.

One satellite, MTG-I1 — Meteosat Third Generation Imager — is for EUMETSAT, the European satellite agency that monitors weather, climate, and the environment from space. It is the first of six satellites that form the full MTG system, which will provide critical data for weather forecasting. The satellite has two completely new instruments, a flexible combined imager and Europe’s first lightning imager.

The MTG satellites are developed and procured in cooperation with the European Space Agency by an industrial consortium led by Thales Alenia Space in cooperation with OHB.

Co-passengers, Intelsat Galaxy 35 and 36 were also on the launch. These C-band satellites will serve media customers in North America, with capacity for events like wrestling, boxing, football, etc. Intelsat ordered these satellites from Maxar Technologies in 2020 as part of a five-satellite deal for Intelsat’s work to clear the C-band spectrum for 5G use.

They are the fifth and sixth satellites out of seven for Intelsat’s C-band clearing program. Maxar also built Galaxy 31 and Galaxy 32, which launched last month, and are currently being commissioned for operations.

“We are on schedule to vacate the 3700-4000 MHz frequency range by December 5, 2023 as mandated by the FCC. The cleared spectrum will be used by the mobile network operators who bought it at auction from the FCC to provide 5G services in [continental United States],” commented Tom McNamara, Intelsat senior vice president of Commercial Programs.

This was one of the final launches for the workhorse Ariane 5 rocket before the Ariane 6 makes its debut. This was the third Ariane 5 launch of 2022.

Leave a Comment