Ariane 5 launches COMSATBwAriane 5 launchesCOMSATBw

The latest Ariane 5 launch today arried the Amazonas 2 civilian relay platform for Spain’s HISPASAT and the German COMSATBw-1 secure military communications satellite.

SatcomBW Satellit Artist

Zum Satellitenkommunikationssystem der Bundeswehr gehören zwei COMSATBW (Zeichnung: EADS Astrium)  


In another on-time departure for Arianespace, the vehicle lifted off at 6:59 p.m. (local time in French Guiana), which was the opening of a 1 hr., 11 min. launch window. Ariane 5 climbed through clear skies over the Spaceport, enabling a view of its initial trajectory – including the burn-out and separation of the two solid rocket boosters, which were jettisoned at an altitude of 67 km.
Amazonas 2 rode as the upper passenger in the launch vehicle’s payload “stack,” and was deployed 27 minutes into the mission by Ariane 5. This satellite will be operated by Spanish telecommunications operator HISPASAT, for which Arianespace has provided repeat launch services since its orbiting of the Hispasat 1A telecom relay platform in 1992.  

COMSATBw-1 was Ariane 5’s lower payload on today’s launch, and it was released at just over 33 minutes into the flight – becoming the 32nd military spacecraft lofted by Arianespace.  The satellite weighed approximately 2,500 kg., and will be positioned at an orbital location of 63 deg. East.

It will serve as a key element in the German Bundeswehr’s (German Armed Forces) concept for network-centric operations, providing the backbone of a strategic command infrastructure and interface for the Bundeswehr’s tactical arms, handling secure information – including voice, fax, data, video and multimedia applications – for use by units on deployed missions.  COMSATBw-1 is equipped with 4 SHF-band transponders and 5 UHF-band transponders, with a coverage area extending from America to eastern Asia.

Astrium is prime contractor for the German SatComBw military telecommunications system’s space segment, which will comprise two COMSATBw satellites to be launched by Arianespace.  Integration of these relay spacecraft is the responsibility of Thales Alenia Space, with the satellites based on the Spacebus platform. Their payloads are provided by Astrium subsidiary TESAT.

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