On April 26, 2015, Arianespace conducted successful launch of Ariane 5 launch vehicle with 2 communications satellites, Thor 7 and Sicral 2, into a geostationary transfer orbit from ELA 3 launch complex at Guiana Space Center.
Thor 7 is a Space Systems/Loral-made satellite for private Norwegian company Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc), and Sicral 2 is a co-passenger spacecraft for Telespazio, responsible for the launch service on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Defense and the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement, part of the Ministry of Defense). The mission VA222 was the first Ariane 5 mission in 2015.
Thor 7 is the second satellite orbited by Arianespace for the private Norwegian operator Telenor, after Thor 6 in October 2009. Built by Space Systems/Loral using an LS-1300 platform, Thor 7 weighs approximately 4,600 kg and is fitted with 21 active Ku-band and 25 Ka-band transponders. It is to be positioned at 0.8° West. Thor 7 will provide TV broadcasting services for central and eastern Europe.
Sicral 2 telecommunications satellite is the 63rd military payload launched by Arianespace, and the second joint Italian-French military satellite, following Athena-Fidus, which was launched in February 2014.
“Ariane 5 has played again a key part in the strategic partnership set up by Italy and France to develop a common policy regarding European security.” Stéphane Israël, Arianespace Chairman & CEO
Sicral 2 was built by Thales Alenia Space using a Spacebus 4000 B3 platform. It weighs about 4,400 kg and is fitted with UHF and SHF band transponders. Offering a design life of 15 years, Sicral 2 will handle strategic and tactical communications for the French and Italian armed forces, as well as providing additional reserve telecom capacity for NATO countries.
Arianespace Chairman & CEO Stéphane Israël said the company was proud to have successfully implemented a dual launch solution serving both private and public entities, and addressing both civilian and military applications.
The mission marked 3rd Arianespace's launch in 2015. Earlier it conducted successful launches of Vega with the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) spaceplane on February 11, and Soyuz-ST with two Galileo navigation satellites on March 27. The next mission for the European launch services provider is scheduled for May 20 – in an analogue mission Ariane 5 is expected to orbit DirecTV-15 and Sky Mexico 1 comsats.