Photo feature: A close-up view of Arianespace’s Ariane 5 liftoff with the Automated Transfer Vehicle
Arianespace’s successful launch of the no. 3 Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) this morning was photographed on the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch pad in French Guiana, providing an unusual view of the Ariane 5’s initial climb-out from French Guiana.
This flight carried the heaviest payload ever lofted by the workhorse Arianespace launcher – lifting more than 20,000 kg., with over 19,700 kg. of the total represented by the ATV.
At left, the Ariane 5 is shown before liftoff, positioned on its mobile launch table in front of the ELA-3 facility’s launch tower. In the next photograph, umbilical cables separate from the launcher in a controlled pull-back as Ariane 5 begins its ascent. The next two images show Ariane 5 clearing the launch tower, powered by the thrust from two solid-propellant boosters and the Vulcain 2 main cryogenic engine. (Photos: ESA – S. Corvaja, 2012).