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Satellite Communications Technology

BSAT-4b begins its pre-flight checkout for Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 launch

(20 July 2020 - Arianespace) The BSAT-4b broadcasting satellite, which will be orbited by Arianespace as part of a turnkey contract between the Japanese operator B-SAT and the satellite manufacturer, Maxar, is being readied for a July 28 liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana on Ariane 5.

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Moving through a transfer corridor within the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing facility, the BSAT-4b broadcasting satellite is moved from the building’s S5C large preparation hall to the S5A fueling and integration hall. (courtesy: Arianespace)

This 3,530-kg relay platform is undergoing its preparations in the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing facility, and its upcoming liftoff will mark the latest Ariane mission for B-SAT – Japan’s leading broadcasting satellite operator – as well as the continuation of Arianespace’s long-established launch services relationship with the Japanese satellite broadcasting sector.

B-SAT ordered the BSAT-4b satellite from Maxar in 2018 to ensure 4K/8K ultra-high definition direct-to-home video distribution across the Japanese region. It will serve as a back-up geostationary satellite for BSAT-4a, which also was built by Maxar and launched by Arianespace in September 2017.

Equipped with 24 Ku-band transponders, BSAT-4b was designed for a service lifetime of 15 years or longer and is based on Maxar’s popular 1300-class spacecraft bus for commercial communications satellites.

On this month’s Ariane 5 mission to geostationary transfer orbit, designated Flight VA253 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, BSAT-4b will be integrated in the launch vehicle’s lower payload position, joining the other two passengers: the Galaxy 30 relay satellite (G-30); and the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) – both of which are supplied by Northrop Grumman, and will serve the operational needs of Intelsat.