Arabsat-3A & Skynet 4E

Launch Time
Fri Feb 26, 1999 22:44 UTC

Flight V116.


Ariane 44L
Image Credit: Arianespace
Status: Retired
Liftoff Thrust: 6,000 kN
Payload to GTO: 4,720 kg
Stages: 3
Strap-ons: 4
Rocket Height: 58.72 m

Mission Details


The Arab Satellite Communications Organization (often abbreviated as Arabsat) is a communications satellite operator in the Arab World, headquartered in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Arabsat was created to deliver satellite-based, public, and private telecommunications services to the Arab States, in accordance with International Standards. With 21 member countries, the organization plays a vital role in enhancing communications in the Arab World.

On 7 November 1996, a contract was signed with Aérospatiale to provide the first of the third-generation satellites, to be based on a Spacebus 3000B2 platform.

BADR-3 (technically: Arabsat-3A) was launched as the first satellite of the third generation, on 26 February 1999. Half of its transponders were switched off on 7 December 2001 after a solar-panel malfunction.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 2,705.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit

Skynet 4E

Skynet is a family of military communications satellites, now operated by Airbus Defence and Space on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence, which provides strategic communication services to the three branches of the British Armed Forces and to NATO forces engaged in coalition tasks. The satellites were operated by Paradigm Secure Communications until October 2012 when the organisation was rebranded to Astrium Services.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 1,500.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit


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



9th orbital launch attempt


104th mission
1st mission of 1999
99th successful mission
43rd consecutive successful mission

Ariane 4

85th mission
1st mission of 1999
82nd successful mission
43rd consecutive successful mission