Tim Furniss/LONDON

ARIANESPACE PLANS TO conduct seven more launches this year, to meet customer obligations. Satellite-launch clients had been concerned that delays at the start of the year, caused by the failure of the V70 in December 1994, would cause a backlog in the manifest.

The first Ariane 4 launch of 1995 was delayed until 28 April by the failure of the V70. With flights V72 and 73 now safely completed, however, Arianespace is planning a rapid launch campaign for the rest of the year.

Flight V74, carrying the Hughes Communications DirecTv DBS 3 satellite, is scheduled for launch on 9 June. Flight V75 will carry the French Helios 1A military-reconnaissance satellite in July and will be followed by seven more flights in 1995, bringing to 12 the total of launches in the year, says Arianespace. The payloads for the V76-82 missions have not been finalised, but one will certainly include the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory.

Arianespace's order-book now covers 36 spacecraft, including Argentine's Nahuel 1 and the US PanAmSat 5, which have also been booked on Chinese Long March and Russian Proton launchers. "We have not lost these contracts," says the company (Flight International, 17-23 May).

The booking of the Nahuel 1 launch with China by Daimler-Benz Aerospace is an "...insurance against possible delays in the Ariane schedule and may turn out to be for the launch of the planned Nahuel 2, or of another satellite that may be built by Daimler-Benz", says Arianespace.

The company also says that PanAmSat has switched its PAS 5 satellite to a Russian Proton and the PAS 6 to an Ariane from the Proton, and booked a follow-on PAS satellite on a later Proton. Arianespace, which launched the PAS 1 and 2, is also launching the PAS 4 and 3R, a replacement for the satellite, which was lost on the V70. The PAS 4 is being aimed at an August launch.

An agreement has been made between Arianespace and Lockheed Martin to swap payloads planned for launches in 1995/6. AT&T's satellite, the Telstar 402R, a replacement of a spacecraft which exploded in September 1994 (Flight International, 24-30 May), will be launched from an Ariane in late 1995, while Indonesia's Palapa C1, originally manifested for an Ariane flight, will now be flown on the Atlas in early 1996.

Source: Flight International