Arianespace’s Aggressive Launch Finalé For 2007
The first pan-African telecommunications satellite Rascom 1 landed at Cayenne's Rochambeau International Airport aboard an Antonov An-125 cargo jetliner and has arrived at Europe's Spaceport in preparation for Arianespace's sixth Ariane 5 mission of 2007. At the Spaceport’s clean room facilities, the pre-launch checkout is now underway. The satellite is to be lofted along with the Horizons-2 telecommunications spacecraft on Arianespace's final Ariane 5 mission of 2007.
This will follow this Friday's flight of another Ariane 5 with the Skynet 5B and Star One C1 payloads. This is the first time Arianespace has performed six Ariane 5 missions in one year. The company hopes to commit a stabilized pace of eight Ariane 5 flights annually by 2009.
Rascom 1 was built by Thales Alenia Space as part of a turnkey contract with the Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RascomStar-QAF). The satellite will provide telecommunication services to rural areas of Africa, as well as domestic and international connections, direct TV broadcast services and Internet access across the African continent. The satellite's coverage footprint also includes portions of Europe and the Middle East.
The spacecraft is based on the Spacebus 4000B3 platform and is designed for an operational lifetime of 15 years. Rascom 1 carries 12 Ku-band transponders and eight C-band transponders, and will weigh about 3,200 kg. at launch. Horizons-2 was developed for the Horizons Satellite LLC joint venture of Intelsat and JSAT and will provide services that range from digital video, high-definition television (HDTV) and IP-based content distribution networks, to broadband Internet and satellite news services for the continental United States, the Caribbean and parts of Canada