ECS 3, Spacenet 3

Launch Time
Thu Sep 12, 1985 23:26 UTC

Third stage failed to ignite. Flight V15.


Ariane 3
Image Credit: Arianespace
Status: Retired
Liftoff Thrust: 5,100 kN
Payload to GTO: 2,700 kg
Stages: 3
Strap-ons: 2
Rocket Height: 49.0 m

Mission Details


The European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Eutelsat) has been servicing the European community since 1977, being formally established by a multi-lateral agreement in 1985.

In 1979 ESA agreed to design, build, and launch five ECS (European Communication Satellite) spacecraft to be assumed by Eutelsat after passing initial on-orbiting testing. At that time the name of each spacecraft was changed to Eutelsat 1-F1, Eutelsat1-F2, etc. Of the five ECS spacecraft, four were successfully launched (1983, 1984, 1987, and 1988) and transferred to Eutelsat. ECS 3 was lost in an Ariane-3 launch accident in 1985.

As noted previously, the ECS spacecraft was derived from the OTS vehicle but with an initial mass on station of approximately 700 kg. The payload included twelve (including two spares) 14/11 GHz transponders with 20 W output power for a capacity of 12,000 telephone circuits or 10 television channels. Two solar arrays with a span of 13.8 m provided 1 kW of electrical power to the 2.2 m by 2.4 m spacecraft bus. With an anticipated working life of up to seven years, at the end of 1994 three ECS/Eutelsat 1 spacecraft were still operational at 21.5 degrees E, 25.5 degrees E, and 48 degrees E, although Eutelsat 1-F1 offered limited service due to its inclination of more than 4.5 degrees. Eutelsat 1F2 (ECS 2) was retired in December 1993.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 1,158.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit

Spacenet 3

Spacenet 1 to 3R were a series of hybrid C-/Ku-band satellites. The Spacenet satellites were built for Southern Pacific Communications (SPC), which was bought by GTE before the first Spacenet ever launched.

The spacecraft were based on RCA's 3-axis stabilized AS-3000 bus.

To help offset the loss of DFH-2A 4 and the delay in the DFH-3 program, China in late 1992 purchased the nearly 9-year-old Spacenet 1 from GTE. In 1993 the spacecraft, renamed Zhongxing 5 (ChinaSat 5), was moved to 115.5 degrees E. Following ChinaSat-7's launch failure, ChinaSat purchased a second in-orbit satellite (Spacenet-2) in 1997 and renamed it ChinaSat-5R.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 1,195.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit


ELA-1, Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana, France



83rd orbital launch attempt


7th mission
4th mission of 1985
1st failed mission

Ariane 3

5th mission
3rd mission of 1985
1st failed mission