Arianespace got a contract through Space Systems / Loral (SSL) to launch the BSAT-4b satellite from B-SAT (Japanese operator Broadcasting Satellite System). Marking the tenth satellite launch for B-SAT by Arianespace, the satellite will be positioned in geostationary orbit at 110 degrees East and will serve as a back-up for its predecessor.

The satellite will provide television feeds as high as 4K/8K ultra-high definition (UHD) video with the usual Japan archipelago footprint for the coming 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. SSL has built the BSAT-4b satellite, which is scheduled to launch from Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana in 2020.

Being the 10th satellite launch conducted by Arianespace for B-SAT, the ‘Bird’ is going to be the 32nd commercial geostationary satellite launch deal assigned to Arianespace in Japan. Built by SSL, a California-based satellite manufacturer, using 1300 platforms weighing about 3,520 kg at launch, featuring 24 Ku-band transponders which will be placed in a 110° east geostationary orbit and is designed to have a nominal service life of at least 15 years. It is going to be launched by an Ariane 5 in 2020 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Arianespace has launched all nine of B-SAT satellites since its creation.

After the Launch of BSAT-4b, it will act as a back-up for the BSAT-4a satellite, which was earlier launched by Arianespace in September. On top of this, Arianespace is all set to launch two missions from Japan by the very end of this year, including Horizons 3e and BepiColombo.

Stéphane Israël, the CEO of Arianespace announced – “Just after seven months of the successful launch of BSAT-4a in September 2017, we have been honored of been selected for the launch of BSAT-4b for our long-lasting associate B-SAT”. He further added to his statement – “This new Ariane 5 launch contract is quiet enough to demonstrate the excellent relationships between SSL, Arianespace, and the Japanese operator B-SAT, for whom we have been launching the entire fleet of satellites since 1997. We feel proud to serve one more time the Japanese market and to passionately take part in the implementation of B-SAT’s ambitious projects, in partnership with SSL.”

The BepiColombo mission, which will soon be launched soon, has been developed by the ESA (European Space Agency) in collaboration with Japan Space Exploration Agency, whereas Horizons 3e mission is to be owned by Japanese SKY Perfect JSAT.


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