Friday, December 18, 2009

Twice delayed Ariane 5 Successfully Launches

Just in time for the Holidays, an Ariane 5 lifted-off from South America today giving Arianespace a celebration as they conclude the year with seven successful flights and their 30th year in the launch business.

The Ariane 5 GS fired it's core engine and rocket boosters and launched from pad ELA-3 at the Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 11:26:07 am EST, today (1626 GMT) into a blue sky.

The 151-foot heavy lift launcher rose with it's mighty Vulcain 1B main engine and three solid fueled boosters north out over the Atlantic waters.

This 193rd Ariane rocket sat thru two launch scrubs in the last two weeks due to technical issues.

Today's launch was the third "GS" configured Ariane 5 rocket, the previous two GS flights having flown in 2007.

The HELIOS 2B was deployed into a Sun-synchronous polar orbit as the observatory orbits the earth from pole to pole. This orbital path will allow for it to have a larger coverage region of the globe.

The satellite will be used by multiple European counties to create maps
of uncharted regions and create 3-D landscape images for better intelligence for the countries of France, Greece, Belgium, Italy and Spain.

HELIOS was built by several European aerospace companies such as Thales Alenia Space, with EADS Astrium as the prime contractor.

Ariane 5's launch today was the 35th back-to-back successful launch of an Ariane 5; and also marked it's 49th flight with the 50th flight now planned for February.

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