Ariane 5 launches heavy load

Ariane 5 delivers! Anik F2 is the largest commercial telecom satellite ever launched
18 July 2004

Early this morning (CEST), an Ariane 5G lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. On board was the largest telecommunications satellite ever launched.

The satellite was successfully placed into geostationary orbit around 28 minutes after liftoff. At the time of its release, the Ariane-5 launcher was travelling at a speed of 8650 metres a second and had reached an altitude of around 1610 km.

At launch, the Anik F2 telecommunications satellite, to be operated by Canada-based Telesat, had a launch mass of 5950 kg. Now that it is in orbit, this heavyweight telecommunications satellite will provide high-speed Internet access and digital communications services across North America. Anik F2 carries 32 Ku-band transponders, 38 Ka-band transponders and 24 C-band transponders.

One of the beneficiaries will be the Canadian telemedicine project Telecare, a pilot project that received ESA funding under its Telecom Programme. This pilot project uses two-way satellite networks to enable nurses to ‘visit’ patients who live in remote areas.

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