Saturday, December 20, 2008

Europe's Ariane 5 Delivers 2 ComSats to Orbit

The European Space Agency's most powerful unmanned rocket - Ariane 5 - lifted off this evening from the northeastern coast of South America to deliver two communications satellites, destined for geostationary orbits.

The Ariane 5's liquid hydrogen main engine fired up as the countdown clock hit zero, and then nearly seven seconds later, the twin solid rocket boosters ignited at 5:35:14 pm EST today to begin the launch profile.

Twenty-seven minutes after leaving it's launch pad in French Guiana, the first of the two EuTelSat spacecraft - Hot Bird 9 - separated from the upper stage. Next, the W2M deployed three minutes later.

The next Ariane 5 launch is currently targeted for mid-February and will carry aloft the Hot Bird 10.

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