Arianespace Launches TIBA-1 and Inmarsat GX5 Satellites

Arianespace delivered another dual-satellite payload – TIBA-1 and Inmarsat GX5 – to orbit on the 250th launch of an Ariane-series vehicle – underscoring its continued success 40 years after the historic maiden flight of an Ariane 1 version in 1979.

Lifting off on Nov. 26 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, the Ariane 5 deployed TIBA-1 and Inmarsat GX5 to geostationary transfer orbit on a mission lasting 34 minutes from liftoff to final payload separation.

The Ariane 5 launcher – which is delivered to Arianespace by ArianeGroup as production prime contractor – provided an estimated total lift performance of 10,479 kg., including the satellites and hardware for their dual-payload deployment system.

Deployed first in the flight sequence 27 minutes after liftoff, TIBA-1 is a communications spacecraft for the Government of Egypt, developed by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space as co-prime contractors, with Thales Alenia Space acting as lead partner of the contract.

TIBA-1, the fourth satellite launched by Arianespace for Egypt, will operate from an orbital position at 35.5 deg. East. Airbus Defence and Space was Arianespace’s direct customer for the payload – continuing a strong partnership between the two companies that extends back to Arianespace’s creation in 1980.

Inmarsat GX5 was carried in Ariane 5’s lower payload position and released second in the sequence for today’s mission, which is designated Flight VA250 in Arianespace’s numbering protocol for its launcher families. To be located in geostationary orbit at 11 deg. East, this relay platform is the 10th satellite launched by Arianespace at the service of Inmarsat.

Produced by Thales Alenia Space, Inmarsat GX5 is a very high throughput communications satellite that will be fully integrated into Inmarsat’s current Global Xpress high-speed network – with a coverage area that is to include the Middle East, Europe and the Indian sub-continent.

Flight VA250 was Arianespace’s fourth mission in 2019 using a heavy-lift Ariane 5, and the eighth across its full launcher family – which also includes the medium Soyuz and lightweight Vega. Today’s success follows Ariane 5 missions performed this year on February 5 (carrying Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 and GSAT-31); June 20 (T-16 and EUTELSAT 7C); and August 6 (Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C).


TIBA-1 is a civil and government telecommunication satellite for Egypt. It was developed by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space as co-prime contractors, with Thales Alenia Space acting as the consortium’s lead partner.
TIBA-1 will be owned and operated by the government of Egypt.

Airbus Defence and Space supplied the platform and also assembled and tested the spacecraft. Thales Alenia Space, as lead partner, designed and built the communications payload, which will provide broadband communications in ka band.

TIBA-1 will be the fourth satellite launched by Arianespace for Egypt. It will be deployed by Arianespace into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), subsequently transitioning to its operational orbital slot position at 35.5° East.

Airbus Defence and Space is Arianespace’s direct customer for this mission, continuing a fruitful cooperation between the two companies that extends back to Arianespace’s creation in 1980. TIBA-1 will be the 127th Airbus satellite launched by Arianespace, as well as the 113th main passenger on a launcher from the Arianespace family.

There currently is a total of 22 Airbus satellites in Arianespace’s order book.

TIBA-1 is the 160th satellite launch by Arianespace for Thales Alenia Space, the co-prime and lead partner of this program.

Artist's Rendering of Egypt's TIBA-1 communications satellite.
Artist’s Rendering of Egypt’s TIBA-1 communications satellite.

Inmarsat GX5

GX5 is a mobile communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. Inmarsat’s fifth Ka-band Global Xpress (GX) satellite, GX5 will be the most advanced in the GX fleet, which in less than four years has become the gold standard for seamless, globally available, mobile broadband services.

Located in a geostationary orbit at 11° East, GX5 will deliver greater capacity than the entire existing GX fleet (GX1-GX4) combined and will support the rapid growth in customer demand for GX services in Europe and the Middle East, particularly for aviation passenger Wi-Fi and commercial maritime services.

It is equipped with 72 Ka-band fixed spot beams and 4 steerable beams to direct additional capacity where it is needed. GX5 heralds the start of an unprecedented enhancement in the overall capacity and capabilities of the GX network with a further 7 advanced payloads scheduled to launch over the next four years.

This is the 10th time that Inmarsat has chosen Arianespace’s launch services, demonstrating a well-established trust – with the two companies’ relationship dating back to 1981. The mission with Inmarsat GX5 comes two years after Arianespace successfully launched the “condosat” Hellas Sat 3/Inmarsat S-EAN with an Ariane 5.

The Inmarsat GX5 satellite will be the 161st satellite manufactured by Thales Alenia Space to be launched by Arianespace. Six additional Thales Alenia Space satellites are included in Arianespace’s order book.

Artist's Rendering of Inmarsat GX5 satellite.
Artist’s Rendering of Inmarsat GX5 satellite.

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