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Ariane 5 launch contributes to Ariane 6 development
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Mar 09, 2016

illustration only

An Ariane 5 lifted off this morning to deliver telecom satellite Eutelsat-65 West A into its planned transfer orbit. Liftoff of flight VA229 occurred at 05:20 GMT (02:20 local time, 06:20 CET) from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Eutelsat-65 West A was the sole passenger on this launch. With a mass of 6707 kg, it was released about 27 minutes into the mission.

Positioned at 65W in geostationary orbit, the satellite has a design life of 15 years and will provide coverage throughout Latin America and especially Brazil with video and direct-to-home broadcasting, as well as flexible high-speed broadband access.

After satellite separation, the propellants' temperature and level were recorded to study its behaviour in the rocket's upper stage under microgravity. This information will help to design the upper stage for Ariane 6.

Flight VA229 was the second Ariane 5 launch of the year and the 85th Ariane 5 mission.

background report
Space like businesses is a numbers game

The numbers continue to add up for Arianespace following today's early morning Ariane 5 mission that orbited the EUTELSAT 65 West A relay satellite - extending to 71 the heavy-lift vehicle's streak of consecutive successes, while achieving other numerical milestones for the company as well.

Lifting off exactly on time from the ELA-3 launch zone at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, Ariane 5 deployed its passenger at the conclusion of a 27-minute flight sequence. For today's success, EUTELSAT 65 West A had the distinction of being a single telecommunications satellite on a dedicated Ariane 5 flight - compared to the typical dual-payload configuration for this launcher on missions to geostationary transfer orbit.

525 satellites launched... and counting
Making the mission all the more special was EUTELSAT 65 West A's status as the milestone 525th satellite overall to be launched by Arianespace, as well as its being the 31st orbited by the company on behalf of Paris-based Eutelsat Communications. Both were points of emphasis during post-launch comments by Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stephane Israel, who spoke via satellite from National Harbor, Maryland, where he is participating in the on-going Satellite 2016 conference and exhibition.

"We are delighted to have organized this launch for Eutelsat, which has been our steadfast partner since our companies both started in the early 1980s," he said. "I therefore wish to express my deepest gratitude to Eutelsat for its trust in Arianespace."

Looking to the future of the companies' partnership, Israel added: "We still have three Eutelsat satellites in our backlog, and we are ready to welcome many more!"

A successful team effort
"We fully enjoyed this," said Rodolphe Belmer, who earlier in the month succeeded Michel de Rosen as Eutelsat's Chief Executive Officer. "It was for me the first launch as CEO of Eutelsat, so as you could imagine, it was a very intense moment - and a great success!"

EUTELSAT 65 West A - which had a liftoff mass of 6,564 kg. - combines broad coverage in C- and Ku-bands for video distribution, cellular backhaul and direct-to-home broadcasting with a high-throughput payload for broadband access in the Ka-band. The spacecraft will operate from an orbital position of 65 deg. West, where it will serve expanding markets in Brazil and across Latin America.

During his post-launch comments, Arianespace's Israel also put a spotlight on payload prime contractor SSL of Palo Alto, California. EUTELSAT 65 West A was the 53rd satellite built by this company to be launched on an Arianespace mission, with 12 more to come based on the current launch services order book.

Also receiving credit from Arianespace following the success were Ariane 5/Ariane 6 industrial lead contractor Airbus Safran Launchers; the European Space Agency and its 12 member states that provide full support for the Ariane launcher program; the CNES French space agency, with its Spaceport resources; along with the industrial base and Arianespace's own operational teams.

The workhorse Ariane 5 today added another on-target performance to its track record, with the following estimated orbital parameters at injection of its cryogenic upper stage: - Perigee: 249.8 km. for a target of 250.0 km. - Apogee: 35,909 km. for a target of 35,896 km. - Inclination: 0.48 deg. for a target of 0.50 deg.

Continuing the 2016 mission cadence
Designated VA229, Arianespace's mission with EUTELSAT 65 West A was the second performed this year as part of the company's busy launch manifest for 2016 - following the year-opening Ariane 5 success that orbited Intelsat 29e on January 27.

Arianespace is targeting as many as 12 missions during the year using its full launcher family, which includes the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega vehicles. In performing its first two missions by early March, Arianespace also is well-positioned to achieve its goal of eight total launches in 2016 with Ariane 5.

The company's next mission is scheduled for April 22, when Soyuz will deliver another spacecraft for the European Commission's Copernicus program - Sentinel-1B - accompanied by auxiliary payloads.


Related Links
Ariane at ESA
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Previous Report
Arianespace Soyuz to launch 2 Galileo satellites in May
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Feb 26, 2016
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