Ariane 5 sets new record on latest launch

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Europe’s Ariane 5 has delivered two telecom satellites, SES-17 and Syracuse-4A, into their planned orbits.

Arianespace announced liftoff at 03:10 BST (04:10 CEST, 23:10 local time on 23 October) from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, for a mission lasting about 38 minutes.

“For this launch, we increased the Ariane 5 fairing volume by attaching a 1.5 m raising cylinder to accommodate these two very large, stacked satellites. The development and qualification of this adaptation was funded by ESA. Today’s launch of 11.2 t to geostationary transfer orbit is a record performance for Ariane 5,” said Daniel de Chambure, ESA’s Acting Head of Ariane 5 adaptation and future missions.

SES-17 satellite prior to launch

SES-17, with a launch mass of 6411 kg, in the upper berth of the fairing was released first.

Following a series of burns controlled by Ariane’s computer, the Sylda structure encasing the 3853 kg Syracuse-4A payload was jettisoned. Syracuse-4A was released about two minutes later towards its own geostationary transfer orbit.

SES-17 is owned and operated by SES. It will deliver broadband coverage over the Americas, the Caribbean and over the Atlantic Ocean and is optimised for commercial aviation.

Syracuse-4A, for France’s DGA (Direction générale de l’armement) defence procurement agency, will provide secure communications between deployed armed forces and will also support NATO and European-led operations.

Both satellites have a design life of about 15 years.

The performance requested for this Ariane launch was 11 210 kg. The two satellites totalled about 10 264 kg, with payload adapters and carrying structures making up the rest.

“Ariane 5 demonstrates continuous improvement with each launch. The success today of launch VA255 and the success of VA254 last July were crucial to move towards Ariane 5’s December launch carrying the James Webb Space Telescope,” commented Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation.

Flight VA255 was the 111th Ariane 5 mission.

About Ariane 5

Ariane 5 is operated by Arianespace at Europe’s Spaceport. It can carry payloads weighing more than 10 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit and over 20 tonnes into low Earth orbit. Its performance perfectly complements that of Europe’s Vega light-lift launch vehicle, and Soyuz.

Europe’s next-generation Ariane 6 rocket will eventually replace Ariane 5. Available in two versions, it will be capable of a wide range of missions to any orbit.

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