The workhorse of the European Space Agency launched from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, South America today on a duel satellite delivery mission which will provide strong telecommunications from the central and southern Pacific communities.
Lift-off of the Ariane 5 on it's fourth flight of the year occurred on time at 6:09:07 pm EDT today, as the twin solid rocket boosters ignited propelling the rocket toward space.
Combined with a Vulcan single engine, the boosters burned to send the Ariane up to an altitude of nearly 230,000 feet. Due to the close proximity of Kourou with the earth's equator, it takes less time and fuel to get payloads into geostationary orbit.
The first satellite to deploy was Japan's JCSat-12 which occurred on time at 6:35 pm, followed by the Australian DIRECTV and communications payload, Optus D3, at 6:40 pm. Optus will work on station at 156 degrees East longitude, and above the equator.
Earlier this year, Japan and Arianespace signed an agreement whereas Ariane will launch the JCSat-13 in two years.
This was the 190th launch of an Ariane-family rocket launch, and the 32nd consecutive successful mission of the Ariane 5.
Arianespace has three more Ariane 5 flights scheduled for the last four months of 2009, the next coming around September 29th.