Ariane 5 marks its 37th consecutive success by orbiting the Arabsat-5A and COMS satellites
Arianespace stepped up its 2010 launch pace with tonight’s successful dual-passenger Ariane 5 mission, which lofted payloads for the Middle East and South Korea.
Lifting off from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch facility in French Guiana, the Ariane 5 ECA placed Arabsat-5A and COMS into geostationary transfer orbits – providing a payload delivery performance of approximately 7,400 kg.
Ariane 5 begins its ascent with the mission’s dual satellite payload, which weighed approximately 7,400 kg.
“This launch is the 37th consecutive success for our Ariane 5 launcher, and it clearly demonstrates our policy of quality — which is exactly what you — our customers expect, and I thank you for the confidence you have always shown for us,” Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said in comments from the Spaceport’s Jupiter mission control room.
He noted that Arianespace maintains a strong backlog of satellites to be orbited, which has been further expanded with additional contracts concluded so far this year.
“Since the creation of our company 30 years ago, we have successfully launched 281 satellites,” Le Gall said. “And this will continue, as our order book today has 34 satellites for launch to geostationary orbit, along with six Ariane 5 missions with the Automated Transfer Vehicle, and 17 launches to be performed by Soyuz. And since the beginning of 2010, we already have signed nine new contracts – the latest of which is with the Argentinean operator Arsat, which I am announcing today as a new contract.”
After its 6:41 p.m. liftoff from the Spaceport, the vehicle’s cryogenic upper stage was injected with the following provisional orbital parameters:
– Perigee: 249.9 km. for a target of 249.7 km.
– Apogee: 35,972 km. for a target of 35,958 km.
– Inclination: 2.00 deg. for a target of 2.00 deg.
During tonight’s launch, the Arabsat-5A satellite was deployed first during the flight sequence, being released from atop Ariane 5’s payload “stack” at 26 min. into the mission. Produced by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space on a turnkey contract for the Arabsat telecommunications operator, the satellite had a mass at liftoff of about 4,940 kg.
Arabsat-5A carries 24 Ku-band transponders and 28 C-band transponders for telecommunications and TV broadcasting services over the Middle East and Africa. Astrium provided the Eurostar 3000 spacecraft platform and was responsible for satellite integration, while Thales Alenia Space supplied the payload.
This mission marked another milestone in Arianespace’s 25-year relationship with the Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat telecommunications operator, which began with the launch of Arabsat 1A in 1985 on an Ariane 3 vehicle. A total of seven Arabsat satellites have been launched by Arianespace during the past 25 years.
The COMS satellite passenger was separated from Ariane 5 at 32 min. into tonight’s flight, completing this second heavy-lift mission of 2010. The multi-purpose COMS spacecraft for South Korea’s KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) is fitted with three payloads for meteorological observation, ocean surveillance and experimental broadband multimedia communications services.
Liftoff mass of the COMS Astrium-built Eurostar 3000 platform was 2,460 kg., and its communications payload came from the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in Korea. COMS continues a collaboration that started with Arianespace’s launch of the Kitsat A and Kitsat B scientific microsats in 1992 and 1993 for Korea’s Satellite Technology Research Center (SaTReC), and was followed by the 1999 launch of the KOREASAT 3 communications satellite for Korea Telecom.
Following tonight’s launch, Le Gall announced that the next Ariane 5 mission will be another dual-passenger flight, which is scheduled for August 3 with RASCOM-QAF 1R and NILESAT 201.