Superbird A1

Launch Time
Tue Dec 01, 1992 22:48 UTC

Flight V55.


Ariane 42P
Image Credit: Arianespace
Status: Retired
Liftoff Thrust: 4,334 kN
Payload to GTO: 2,930 kg
Stages: 3
Strap-ons: 2
Rocket Height: 58.72 m

Mission Details

Superbird A1

Satellite news gathering, cable television distribution, video conferencing, newspaper transmission, business applications, and banking services are being delivered to Japanese customers by the two SUPERBIRD satellites built for Space Communications Corporation (SCC) of Japan by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L).

The geostationary SUPERBIRD has 23 transponders that operate in the Ku-band, at 50 and 85 Watts, three Ka-band transponders at 29 Watts, and two X-band transponders at 47 Watts. Total on-board prime dc power is 4,000 Watts.

SUPERBIRD-1 (A1) was completed in 23 months and delivered into orbit in March 1992. SUPERBIRD-2 (B1) was completed in 19 months and delivered into orbit in February 1993, both from the European Space Center at Kourou, French Guiana. Control after launch was provided by SS/L's Mission Control Center in Palo Alto, Calif., until completion of check-out in orbit, after which control was passed to SCC.

The SUPERBIRD spacecraft is based on SS/L's three-axis, body-stabilized SSL-1300 bus, whose modular design has proven its worth during some 275 years of cumulative on-orbit service, close to 45% of the total of 630 plus years amassed by SS/L satellites to date.

The SSL-1300 buses achieve long useful orbital life - in this case, 10 years - through the use of a bipropellant propulsion system and a momentum bias system for excellent stationkeeping and orbital stability. Solar arrays and nickel-hydrogen batteries provide uninterrupted electrical power.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 2,780.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit


ELA-2, Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana, France



86th orbital launch attempt


46th mission
7th mission of 1992
43rd successful mission
19th consecutive successful mission

Ariane 4

27th mission
7th mission of 1992
26th successful mission
19th consecutive successful mission