The satellite ASTRA 5B, which will become part of the European Commission’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), launched successfully after a one-day delay. It lifted off on March 22 aboard an Ariane 5 ECA rocket at 2204 GMT (6:04 p.m. EDT) from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana.
Officials from Arianespace, the French launch services company, declared the mission a success following the rocket’s deployment of the ASTRA 5B and Amazonas 4A communications satellites about a half-hour after liftoff, reports Spaceflight Now.
ASTRA 5B carries a hosted L-band payload for EGNOS. It will also extend transponder capacity and geographical reach over Eastern Europe and neighboring markets for DTH, direct-to-cable, and contribution feeds to digital terrestrial television networks.
“Today’s successful launch, the 59th in a row for Ariane 5, confirms the unrivaled reliability and availability of the European launcher,” said Stephane Israel, chairman and CEO of Arianespace. “We take particular pride in being able to offer this service excellence to two leading European operators, SES and Hispasat, both long-standing customers of Arianespace, as well as the European Commission, which has an EGNOS satellite navigation payload integrated on the ASTRA 5B satellite.”
The spacecraft, based on the Airbus Defence and Space Eurostar E3000 satellite bus, is flying with a hosted L-band navigation payload for EGNOS, which augments GPS navigation signals over Europe for specialty users such as the aviation and surveying industries.
“EGNOS will be able to continue to provide valuable positioning services to users all over Europe, be it in the field of aviation, transport or agriculture,” said Christoph Kautz, deputy head of the European Commission’s enterprise and industry unit.
ASTRA 5B was built by Airbus Defence and Space (formerly Astrium) in Toulouse, France, using a Eurostar E3000 platform. The multi-mission satellite will be located at 31.5 degrees East.