First Ariane 5 launch of 2007
On 11 March 2007, an Ariane 5 ECA launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two satellites into geostationary transfer orbits. Lift-off of flight V175 took place at 22:03 GMT/UTC (19:03 local time, 23:03 CET/Paris). The satellites were accurately injected into the correct transfer orbits about 30 minutes later.
The payload comprised Skynet 5A, a secure telecommunications satellite for the British armed forces, and Insat 4B, which will provide fixed television and telecommunications services for the Indian subcontinent.
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 2min:19sec after main engine ignition, and the fairing protecting the payload during the climb through the Earth’s atmosphere was discarded at 3min:16sec. The launcher’s main engine was shut down at 8min:58sec and the main cryogenic stage separated from the upper stage and its payload just over nine minutes into the flight.
Four 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 24min:47sec into the flight, at which point the launch vehicle was travelling at over 9330 metres per second (nearly 33 600 km/h) at an altitude of 678.8 kilometres and the conditions for geostationary transfer orbit injection had been achieved.
The provisional orbital parameters at injection were:
- perigee: 249.8 km (target 250.0 km ±3.0 km)
- apogee: 35 952 km (target 35 970km ±160 km)
- inclination: 4.5° (target 4.5° ±0.06°)
At 26min:40sec after main engine ignition, Skynet 5A separated from the launcher, followed by Insat 4B at 31min:02sec.
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.