First Ariane launch of 2002 successful
A telecommunications satellite for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was put into geostationary orbit late last evening from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana.
At 8:47 p.m local time, Flight 147, an Ariane 4 launcher with two liquid-propellant strap-on boosters, successfully lifted off into space. On board was an INSAT 3C telecommunications satellite, the eighth ISRO satellite to be launched from Europe's spaceport. The First INSAT satellite was launched on 21 July 1988 by an Ariane 3 launcher.
This latest communications satellite, assembled and integrated in Bangalore, southern India, will provide telecommunications and television services for the whole of the Indian sub-continent.
Two more launchers are in the immediate pipeline. On 20 February an Ariane 4 launcher with four liquid propellant strap-on boosters will place an Intelsat 904 satellite into orbit, while the next Ariane 5 launch, Flight 124, is scheduled for the end of February.
After extensive testing of the Ariane 5 Aestus engine which demonstrated upper stage ignition problems on the last Ariane 5 mission, preparations and stage re-qualification are now underway for the next launch. This event will mark the return into service of the Ariane 5 launcher which will put ESA's newest environmental satellite ENVISAT into orbit.