Flight VA244: A milestone Arianespace mission in photos
The July 25 daytime launch of Arianespace’s Flight VA244 with its four Galileo navigation system satellites provided excellent views of the heavy-lift vehicle in action from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
It was an appropriate “farewell” to the Ariane 5 ES version, as Flight VA244 marked the final mission using this launcher configuration equipped with an EPS storable propellant upper stage. (Click on the photos for larger versions.)
Flight VA244’s Ariane 5 ES vehicle is shown in the ELA-3 launch zone during final countdown for liftoff from the Spaceport. The launcher is installed on one of two mobile launch tables used with Ariane 5 family launchers. For the Galileo mission, the Ariane 5 was equipped with a medium-length payload fairing, which protected the four spacecraft and their dispenser system during ascent through the atmosphere’s denser layers.
The Ariane 5 lifts off from French Guiana, climbing away from the ELA-3 launch complex under the power of its Vulcain 2 core stage cryogenic engine and two solid rocket boosters. As with all versions of Ariane 5, the vehicle was delivered for Arianespace’s operation by production prime contractor ArianeGroup.
The Ariane 5 ES climbs vertically during its first phase of the ascent, followed by an initial pitch motion and subsequent roll maneuver for the flight downrange. Arianespace’s Flight VA244 marked the third and final use of an Ariane 5 to orbit Galileo satellites. The next-generation Ariane 6 will take over for future launches of spacecraft for the European navigation system constellation.
Departing the Spaceport at 8:25:01 a.m. under sunny skies with scattered clouds, the Ariane 5 ES begins a 3-hr. 56-min. flight to deploy its four Galileo satellites. The launcher’s EPS storable propellant upper stage was ignited twice during Flight VA244 – initially bringing the payload to a transfer orbit, followed by the second burn to achieve a circular separation orbit for the satellites’ deployment.
Read the Mission Update story on the success of Arianespace Flight VA244.
See the Gallery for more Flight VA244 liftoff photos and videos.
Review the Flight VA244 Launch Kit for additional information: