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  • Satellite Evolution Group

Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission to support France and Germany’s space ambitions

  • On June 16, Arianespace will launch Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit, designed and manufactured by OHB System on behalf of the German Space Agency with funding of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Change and with the participation of the German Federal Ministry of Defence, and SYRACUSE 4B, designed and manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space for the French Armament General Directorate (DGA).

  • The mission will place both payloads into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit.

  • Flight VA261 will be the 117th and last mission of Ariane 5, the European workhorse which will be replaced by the new European heavy launcher Ariane 6.

On Friday, June 16, 2023, between 6:26 p.m. and 08:01 p.m. local time, Arianespace will launch an Ariane 5 carrying Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit for the German Space Agency and SYRACUSE 4B for the French Armament General Directorate (DGA). The mission, designated VA261, will last 33 minutes and 31 seconds and place both payloads into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit.


For this launch, Arianespace will serve, for the first time, the German Space Agency on behalf of the German Government by orbiting the Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit, as well as the French Ministry of Defence, owner of the SYRACUSE 4B satellite. The latter is part of the SYRACUSE defence program together with the SYRACUSE 4A satellite, also launched by an Ariane 5 vehicle in October 2021. Both payloads will serve the need for a higher and better telecommunications system, reserved to military and institutional uses.


The Heinrich-Hertz-Mission is the first dedicated German telecommunications satellite-based mission that will be used to conduct research and to test new technologies and telecommunications scenarios. The technologies on board are meant to respond smartly and flexibly to future challenges, to support future telecommunications scenarios and to be adapted from Earth to address new technical requirements and market needs. The mission is managed by the German Space Agency on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and with the participation of the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg). The Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit was mainly developed and built by OHB System.


SYRACUSE 4B satellite, delivered by the DGA to the French Air and Space force and the French Space Commander, will allow, in conjunction with the SYRACUSE 4A satellite to connect the armed forces together when deployed. On the ground, at sea, on the air and even in space, militaries needs secured, militaries need secured and powerful communication means in order to be able to exchange information with the command center. Thanks to its state-of-the-art equipment (active antenna and digital transparent processor), SYRACUSE 4B will guarantee a high resistance to extreme military threats. At the service of France’s sovereignty, the satellite will also support NATO operations. To produce SYRACUSE 4B and SYRACUSE 4A satellites and their associated payloads, Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space joined forces to contribute their expertise to this high-end military telecommunications programme.


The launch at a glance:

  • 347th launch for the Arianespace family of launchers.

  • Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit and SYRACUSE 4B will be the 1152nd and 1153rd satellites to be launched by Arianespace.

  • 117th launch of Ariane 5 overall.

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