Arianespace heaves sigh of relief over SES-14 and Al Yah 3

Arianespace VA241 launch
Image: Arianespace

Arianespace has confirmed that both the SES-14 and Al Yah 3 satellites have been acquired and are operating in orbit nominally, despite a “trajectory deviation” experienced during their launch on Thursday.

There had been worried faces after the second tracking station located in Natal, Brazil, failed to acquire the launcher telemetry a few seconds after ignition of the Ariane 5’s upper stage.

This lack of telemetry lasted throughout the rest of powered flight.

Stéphane Israël, Arianespace CEO, tweeted:“Flight VA241’s two satellite payloads – SES-14 and Al Yah 3 – are in orbit and operating nominally, despite a trajectory deviation experienced during the launch. Upcoming launch campaigns currently under way at the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) are proceeding as scheduled.”

Arianespace said it has set up an independent enquiry commission in conjunction with ESA to look at what happened.

The satellites are believed to be in a different initial orbit to that which was planned.  The BBC reports SES said that, as a consequence of Thursday’s anomaly, SES-14 would need an additional four weeks to reach the allocated orbital slot.

SES has confirmed that its spacecraft is in good health and the satellite is expected to meet its designed life time.

The SES-14 satellite will be positioned at 47.5 degrees West to serve Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and the North Atlantic region with C- and Ku-band wide beam coverage and Ku-band high-throughput (HTS) spot beam coverage.

SES has signed contracts with Panasonic Avionics, Gogo and Global Eagle Entertainment for multi-year, HTS and wide-beam capacity for the aeronautical market.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi-based Yahsat’s Al Yah3 is the first hybrid electric propulsion GEOStar-3 satellite to be completed by Orbital ATK.

Once in its geostationary position it will help further Yahsat’s aspirations to develop a commercial inflight connectivity solution.

“Get Connected’s” Steve Nichols tested a demonstration of Yahsat’s Ka-band solution, developed with du, Etihad Airways Engineering, Hughes Network Systems and Carlisle Interconnect at the recent 2017 Dubai Airshow.

Marcus Vilaca, Chief Technology Officer at Yahsat, said: “Al Yah 3 is a significant milestone in realising our vision at Yahsat. Extending our affordable broadband services to 60% of the people in Africa and more than 95% in Brazil to bridge the digital divide and enable a more connected world is core to our strategy.”

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