Friday, April 22, 2011

Europe's Ariane 5 launches satellites for Africa, UAE

An Ariane 5 rocket lifts-off on Earth Day. (arianespace)

Europe's heavy lift work horse delivered two communications satellites into earth orbit this evening as the Sun set over the South American launch site.

The two satellites -- Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn -- will be placed into a geostationary orbit over the next few days to begin a fifteen year life to provide direct communications to the public and government's over several continents.

Lift-off of an Ariane 5 rocket with it's dual-stack of satellites occurred on time today at 5:37:07 p.m. EDT (2137 GMT), from launch pad 3 at Kourou, French Guiana.

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company Yahsat Y1A satellite will operate over the Indian Ocean near the coastline of Somalia to relay both communications and data streams to homes, businesses and government buildings in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The Yahsat Y1A will also relay high-definition television and high speed Internet through it's 25 KU-Band and 14-C-Band transponders.

Al Yah stated to this reporter that Y1A "will be followed by the launch of Y1B in the second half of 2011".

Y1A will be the first satellite for Al Yah which is a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi government’s strategic investment buisness Mubadala Development Company.

Yahsat will become the first satellite for UAE with a secure Ka-band transponder to support private military communications within it's footprint.

Located in the United Arab Emirate's capital, Abu Dhabi, Mubadala is currently sponsoring several UAE students in training at a few NASA facilities across America.

The Orbital Sciences-built Intelsat New Dawn satellite will be used by Africa's private companies, and provide wireless telecommunications, multimedia content, and broadband Internet from it's location over Lake Victoria in central Africa.

New Dawn will use 24 Ku-Band and 28 C-Band transponders set at 36 MHz in support of high speed data flow.

Tom commorate the African satellite's launch, a special decal was attached to the rocket's upper stage bearing the signature of the historic freedom fighter for South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

Along with Mandela's signature was the phrase, Hamba Kahle New Dawn, which translates to “Go Well, New Dawn” Arianespace announced tonight.

The Ariane 5's core single Vulcain 2 engine then ignited seven seconds prior to launch, and was brought up to proper thrust.

The rocket's twin solid fueled boosters then ignited releasing the several million pounds of thrust and pushing 22,187 pounds of payload upward and faster to escape earth's gravity.

The Ariane began a four-second pitch program high over the Atlantic coastline twelve seconds after lift-off beginning the craft's eastward heading on a 5.98 degree inclination.

Soaring about 42 miles above the southern Atlantic waters, the twin booster rockets emptied their fuel and separated seconds later.

One minute later, the rocket's protective payload fairing will split vertically and fall away as the Ariane enters the first traces of space.

Nearly nine minutes after departing Kourou, the Vulcain 2 engine shutdown, and the main stage separated allowing for the engine of the second stage to begin it's burn for several minutes.

The satellite duo arrived into it's injection elliptical orbit of 155 by 22,345 miles.

Geostationary orbit is an orbital plane above the equator located 22,250 miles over a fixed location, and will stay at that one fixed location until acted upon by a force.

Twenty-seven minutes after launch, Yahsat Y1A separated from the rocket's upper stage as it soars 292 miles above earth.

New Dawn then separated and flew free eight minutes later as the upper stage swings the satellite higher in it's elliptical orbit 1,582 miles above the planet.

The next Ariane 5 launch is planned for May 19 with another pair of satellites.

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