Arianespace and Intelsat have just signed an agreement for two launches of three satellites — Galaxy 35, Galaxy 36 and Galaxy 37 — on Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launch vehicles. This contract continues the companies’ relationship that dates back to 1983.
Arianespace will launch the Galaxy 35 and Galaxy 36 satellites together as a stacked pair in 2022 and Galaxy 37 in 2023. Both launches will be performed from Europe’s Spaceport in South America aboard an Ariane 5 and Ariane 64 launch vehicle, respectively.
All three satellites will operate in the upper portion of the C-band spectrum, a range of wireless radio frequencies that is used for critical telecommunications and data connectivity around the world. With this mission, Intelsat will meet the accelerated C-band spectrum clearing timelines established by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year, in order to make the lower portion of the C-band spectrum available to mobile network operators to further the rollout of critical 5G services.
Maxar Technologies will build the three satellites, all using Maxar’s 1300-class platform, in its manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, California.
Maxar noted that Galaxy 37 will join four, previously ordered satellites from the company in helping Intelsat transition its existing media distribution and contribution services — uninterrupted — from the 3.7 to 4.0 gigahertz portion of the C-band, to the 4.0 to 4.2 gigahertz portion of the band, freeing up spectrum for 5G terrestrial wireless services. The satellite is scheduled for delivery in 2023.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to sign this agreement to launch three payloads for Intelsat. It is a profound honor to see the perpetuation of this deep and lasting relationship with Intelsat while enabling the roll-out of 5G in the U.S. We are all the more honored that Intelsat has opted for an Ariane 6 vehicle for the first time,” said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace.
“Intelsat looks forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with Arianespace to launch these satellites, which are critical to accelerating the clearing of the C-Band spectrum and ensuring the U.S. maintains its leadership in 5G and other advanced telecommunications technologies,” said Mike DeMarco, the Chief Services Officer of Intelsat.
“With a relationship dating back to the 1970s, Intelsat has procured 59 spacecraft from Maxar,” said Megan Fitzgerald, Maxar’s Senior Vice President of Space Programs Delivery. “We’re delighted to add Galaxy 37 to the five other spacecraft we’re currently building for Intelsat.”
“Maxar has been a trusted and reliable partner in delivering world-class spacecraft to Intelsat for many years,” said Mike DeMarco, Intelsat Chief Services Officer. “We look forward to working with them on Galaxy 37, which will play an essential role in our U.S. C-band clearing strategy.”