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Ariane 5 July 23, 2018

Ariane 5 reaches the launch zone for this week’s Arianespace mission with four Galileo satellites

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace Flight VA244 moves into the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex in preparation for liftoff on Wednesday, July 25, with four Galileo satellites.

Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 for liftoff this year has rolled out to the launch zone in French Guiana, clearing the way for the heavy-lift vehicle’s third mission carrying satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation system.

The completed Ariane 5 ES version was transferred today atop its mobile launch table from the Final Assembly Building – where payload integration occurred – to the Spaceport’s dedicated ELA-3 launch complex.

Designated Flight VA244 in the company’s numbering system, this upcoming Ariane 5 mission – set for Wednesday, July 25 – will lift off at exactly 8:25:01 a.m. local time in French Guiana and deploy its quartet of Galileo spacecraft into medium Earth orbit (MEO) on a nearly four-hour flight.

During the flight sequence, Ariane 5’s storable propellant upper stage will perform two burns, which are to be separated by a 3-hour, 8-minute ballistic phase. The four Galileo satellites have a liftoff mass of 717.7 kg. each, with Ariane 5’s overall payload lift performance set at 3,287 kg.

Another launch for European institutional customers

Flight VA244 is Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 mission carrying European Galileo satellites, following previous launches in December 2017 and November 2016. Prior to that, the company orbited 14 of them on seven Soyuz missions performed between October 2011 and May 2016.

As Europe’s own global navigation satellite system, Galileo is operated under civilian control, offering guaranteed high-precision positioning around the world. Its initial services began in December 2016, allowing users equipped with Galileo-enabled devices to combine Galileo and GPS data for better positioning accuracy.

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) is responsible for operating the Galileo satellite navigation systems on behalf of the European Union. Galileo spacecraft are built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany, and the navigation payloads provided by Airbus-owned Surrey Satellite Technology in the United Kingdom.

  • A larger version of the photo above is available for downloading in the Gallery.


Liftoff time for Flight VA244:

French Guiana Universal Time (UTC) Washington D.C., USA Paris, France
8:25:01 a.m.
on July 25
on July 25
7:25:01 a.m.
on July 25
1:25:01 p.m.
on July 25


More details are available in the VA244 launch kit:

Ariane Flight VA244
PDF / 1 MB

The European Commission website – Galileo:

The European Space Agency website – Galileo:

European GNSS Agency (GSA) website:

OHB System website:

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited website:

ArianeGroup website:

Ariane 5 July 20, 2018

Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 mission with Galileo satellites is “go” for launch

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