Saturday, May 21, 2011

The 50th Launch of Ariane 5 at 6:01 pm EDT on May 21, 2010

The 50th Launch of Ariane 5 at 6:01 pm EDT on May 21, 2010
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The 50th launch of a ESA Ariane 5 rocket successfully launched dual satellites, ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2, at 6:01 pm EDT on May 21, 2010. Arianespace delivered another dual-satellite payload into orbit today with a milestone flight that utilized the 50th Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Lifting off from the Spaceport in French Guiana, this Ariane 5 ECA version successfully orbited the ASTRA 3B commercial telecommunications satellite for Luxembourg-based SES ASTRA, along with the COMSATBw-2 secure military relay spacecraft for Astrium GmbH on behalf of the German Bundeswehr (armed forces). Arianespaces workhorse heavy-lift launch vehicle has lofted payloads weighing a combined total of more than 300,000 kg. since its maiden liftoff in 1996. During the past 50 flights, Ariane 5s have carried commercial telecommunications satellites; military relay, reconnaissance and early warning spacecraft; Earth observation platforms and meteorological satellites; scientific space probes, experimental and developmental payloads, and the first Automated Transfer Vehicle for servicing of the International Space Station. This evenings mission with ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 was the 194th flight of an Ariane family launcher since 1979. Payload lift performance for the launch was approximately 9,115 kg. which included 7,970 kg. for the two satellites, plus the associated integration hardware and the launchers SYLDA 5 dual-payload dispenser system. The on-time liftoff occurred at the start of a launch window that opened at 7:01 p.m. local time in French Guiana. Ariane 5 provided another high-precision delivery, with the following provisional parameters at the injection of the vehicles cryogenic upper stage:
- Perigee: 248.5 km. for a target of 248.4 km.
- Apogee: 35,970 km. for a target of 35,969 km.
- Inclination: 3.00 deg. for a target of 3.00 deg.
ASTRA 3B was released first into geostationary transfer orbit, being separated from the upper passenger position of Ariane 5s dual payload stack at approximately 27 minutes into the flight. The satellite was produced for SES ASTRA by EADS Astrium, and it had an estimated liftoff mass of 5,470 kg. Configured with 60 Ku-band transponders and four Ka-band transponders, ASTRA 3B was the 10th satellite orbited by Arianespace for SES ASTRA, and the 33rd for the SES group one of the worlds leading providers of satellite transmission capacity. ASTRA 3B will be located at 23.5 degrees East, which is ASTRA's orbital position for delivering Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcast services to Benelux and Eastern European countries, and this location also will serve public and private satellite communication networks across Europe and the Middle East. The COMSATBw-2 lower passenger on Ariane 5 was deployed at approximately 33 min. into the flight. This 2,440-kg. satellite was designed, integrated and tested by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of EADS Astrium the programs space segment prime contractor and it was the 34th military satellite orbited by Arianespace. COMSATBw-2 operates from an orbital position of 13.2 deg. East, providing secure broadband network for uninterrupted communications between the German government, military authorities and armed forces deployed around the world. It is equipped with four SHF-band transponders and five UHF-band transponders, and will join COMSATBw-1 orbited last October by another Ariane 5.
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace - Photo vidé0 CSG

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