Ariane 5’s second launch of 2012
Early this morning, an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two telecommunications satellites, JCSAT-13 and Vinasat-2, into their planned transfer orbits.
Liftoff of flight VA206, the 62nd Ariane 5 mission, came at 22:13 GMT (00:13 CEST; 19:13 French Guiana). The target injection orbit had a perigee altitude of 249.9 km, an apogee altitude at injection of 35 911 km and an inclination of 2°.
The satellites were accurately injected into their transfer orbits about 26 minutes and 36 minutes after liftoff, respectively.
JCSAT-13 will be positioned above the equator at 124°E. It will deliver direct TV broadcast links to Japan and will meet satellite demands in Southeast Asia.
Vinasat-2, to be positioned at 131.8°E, will provide radio, television and telephone links to Vietnam.
The payload mass for this launch was 8381 kg; the satellites totalled 7563 kg, with payload adapters and dispensers making up the additional 818 kg.
VA204 flight timeline
Ariane 5’s cryogenic, liquid-propellant main engine was ignited first. Seven seconds later, the solid-propellant boosters also fired, and the vehicle lifted off a fraction of a second later.
The solid boosters were jettisoned 2 min 25 sec after main engine ignition, and the fairing protecting the payload during the climb through Earth’s atmosphere was discarded at 3 min 11 sec.
The launcher’s main engine shut down at 8 min 54 sec; six seconds later, the main cryogenic stage separated from the upper stage and its payload.
Four seconds after main stage separation, the engine of the cryogenic upper stage ignited to continue the journey. The engine shut down at 25 min 01 sec into the flight, at which point the vehicle was travelling at 9339 m/s (33 620.4 km/h) at an altitude of 669.9 km. The conditions for geostationary transfer orbit injection had been achieved.
At 26 min 35 sec after main engine ignition, JCSAT-13 separated from the upper stage, followed by Vinasat-2 at 36 min 01 sec. Ariane 5’s flight operations were completed 48 min 30 sec after main engine ignition.