Ariane 505 flight V128 was launched from Kourou on 21 March, carrying the Asiastar and Insat 3B. It was the first commercial dual-satellite deployment mission by the heavylift booster and its second commercial flight.

Ariane 505 carried a 4,835kg (10,650lb) payload to a 560 x 35,785km (350 x 22,225 miles), 7°-inclination geostationary transfer orbit, deploying the Asiastar at T+27min 57s and the Insat 3B at T+34min 39s.

The Asiastar, built by Matra Marconi Space for Alcatel, will provide digital radio broadcasting services for the Worldspace system. The Indian Space Research Organisation's Insat 3B will provide telecommunications, television and mobile communications services to India.

Ariane 5 dual-satellite payloads are a major market strategy for Arianespace. "Double launches allow us to reduce launch costs," says president Jean-Marie Luton.

Source: Flight International