Intelsat 6AF2

Launch Time
Fri Oct 27, 1989 23:05 UTC

Flight V34.


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

Intelsat 6AF2

As communications between countries continue to grow, so does the need for increasingly complex satellite systems. To meet that need, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) signed a contract with Hughes Aircraft Company, known later as Hughes Space and Communications Company in 1982 for the most sophisticated commercial communications satellite program ever undertaken. The resulting spacecraft were, at the time, the most complex and most massive ever built.

A team of top international electronics and aerospace firms joined Hughes in designing and building the Intelsat VI. These firms are British Aerospace in England, Spar Aerospace Ltd. and COM DEV in Canada, Thomson Tubes Electroniques and Alcatel Espace in France, Alenia Spazio in Italy, NEC in Japan, and MBB Dasa and AEG-Telefunken in Germany.

Using sophisticated digital modulation techniques, each Intelsat VI spacecraft can carry the equivalent of 120,000 two-way telephone calls, as well as three television channels.

Each satellite contains 48 transponders, 38 operating over the C-band portion of the frequency spectrum and 10 in the Ku-band. The transponders are interconnectable using either static switch matrices or a network that provides satellite-switched time division multiple access capabilities, a major new technology sponsored by INTELSAT. The heart of the system is a microwave switch that hops among six coverage regions, with connection times as short as 4 microseconds per burst. This feature greatly enhances the channel-to-channel interconnectivity between the users.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 4,200.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit


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



88th orbital launch attempt


25th mission
7th mission of 1989
23rd successful mission
15th consecutive successful mission

Ariane 4

6th mission
4th mission of 1989
6th successful mission