Monday, December 27, 2010

Ariane 5 prepares for Tuesday's end of year launch

Ariane prepares for it's sixth flight of 2010 today. (arianespace)

The final rocket launch of the year is scheduled for Tuesday from the jungles of South America.

This flight will also mark the fifty-fifth Ariane 5 flight in the program's history.

Arianespace's Ariane 5 heavy lift rocket is set to deliver two communications satellites into geostationary orbit, the HISPASAT 1E and KOREASAT 6.

Earlier today, the Ariane 5 launcher was moved from it's protective housing out to launch pad ELV-3 at Europe's Spaceport located in French Guiana.

Lift-off of the rocket's sixth flight of the year is planned for 4:26:07 pm EST (6:26 pm local time), the opening of a forty-nine minute launch window.

Once the 165-foot tall Ariane clears the launch tower, the rocket will aim out into the dark skies over the southern Atlantic Ocean powered by duel solid fuel boosters and a liquid fueled core Valcain 2 engine.

The Vulcain 2 uses a fuel mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen during it's nearly nine minute firing.

Just over two minutes into the climb to orbit, the spent boosters separate and fall into the Atlantic as the Ariane continues it's engine burn for another 6 1/2-minutes.

Seconds later, the first stage is jettisoned and the engine of the second stage ignites four seconds later.

The first of the satellites to be deployed will be the Hispasat at 4:53 pm, which will ride to space at the top of the stack inside the nose cone.

Over the next few weeks, Hispasat 1E will use it's thrusters to position itself in a geostationary orbit over 30 degrees West longitude.

The 11,704 pound Spanish satellite was built by Space Systems/ Loral and will carry 53 Ku-Band transponders to provide telecommunications service to western Europe and the Americas -- including high definition television.

Seven minutes later, the Koreasat 6 will be released on it's own and will head for a geostationary orbit over 116 degrees East.

Koreasat was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation and Thales Alenia Space for South Korea's Korea Telecom, and will also provide telecommunication service via 30 Ku-Band transponders.

Korea Telecom is a global communications company which supports broadband and satellite services, as well as sports teams.

Once on orbit, the satellite will span 59 feet across space from one solar array end to the second array end.

This flight will also mark the 199th flight of an Ariane rocket since arianespace was founded thirty years ago.

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