Ariane 5 - Two more telecommunications satellites launched

8 July 2008

Yesterday evening, an Ariane 5 ECA launcher lifted off from Europe's Spaceport at Kourou, in French Guiana, on its mission to place two telecommunications satellites into geostationary transfer orbits.

Lift-off of flight V184 took place at 23:47 CEST/Paris on 7 July (21:47 UTC/GMT; 18:47 UTC-3/Kourou). The satellites were accurately injected into the correct transfer orbits about 30 minutes later.
 
The payload comprised ProtoStar I, which will provide K-band/C-band relay capacity over Asia, and Badr-6, which will provide video broadcasting services for the Middle East and North Africa. The payload mass was 8639 kg; the satellite masses totalled 7537 kg, with payload adapters and dispensers making up the additional 1102 kg.
 
This fourth launch of the year keeps Arianespace and Europe's Spaceport on target for the seven missions planned for 2008 - the busiest year ever for Ariane 5.

Flight timeline

The Ariane 5's cryogenic, liquid fuelled main engine was ignited first. Seven seconds later, the solid fuel rocket boosters were also fired, and a fraction of a second after that, the launch vehicle lifted off.
 
The solid boosters were jettisoned 2 min: 20 sec after main engine ignition, and the fairing protecting the payload during the climb through the Earth's atmosphere was discarded at 3 min: 15 sec. The launcher's main engine was shut down at 8 min: 57 sec; five seconds later the main cryogenic stage separated from the upper stage and its payload.
 
Five seconds after main stage separation, the engine of the launcher's cryogenic upper stage was ignited to continue the journey. The upper stage engine was shut down at 24 min: 48 sec into the flight, at which point the launch vehicle was travelling at 9370 metres per second (just over 33 700 km/h) at an altitude of 640 kilometres and the conditions for geostationary transfer orbit injection had been achieved.
 
At 27 min: 34 sec after main engine ignition, ProtoStar I separated from the launcher's upper stage, followed by Badr-6 at 35 min: 35 sec.

Next launch

The Ariane 5 ECA for flight V185 has been delivered to Kourou and is being prepared in the Launcher Integration Building. Flight V185 will launch SuperBird-7 and AMC 21 into geostationary transfer orbits at the beginning of August 2008.

Ariane 5 ECA

Ariane 5 ECA is the latest version of the Ariane 5 launcher. It is designed to place payloads weighing up to 9.6 tonnes into geostationary transfer orbit. With its increased capacity, Ariane 5 ECA can handle dual launches of very large satellites.

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