Ariane 5 performs its sixth dual-payload mission in 2010, delivering HISPASAT 1E and KOREASAT 6 to orbit
Arianespace completed another busy year of launch operations with today’s Ariane 5 mission that orbited the Hispasat 1E and KOREASAT 6 telecommunications spacecraft – marking the sixth flight of this heavy-lift workhorse in 2010.
Lifting off from the Spaceport in French Guiana, Ariane 5 deployed its two passengers during a mission lasting 34 minutes. In another demonstration of Arianespace’s reactivity, this 41st consecutive successful flight for Ariane 5 occurred just one month after its previous mission in November.
This evening’s liftoff was the 199th flight of an Ariane family vehicle from the Spaceport in French Guiana, and the 41st consecutive success for Ariane 5.
In total, the 12 large telecommunications relay platforms lofted by Ariane 5 during dual-payload launches this year represent a 60 percent share of all such satellites orbited worldwide since January.
“I want to thank all of those who contributed to this new Ariane 5 success,” said Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall in comments from the Spaceport’s mission control room. “This includes the member states of the European Space Agency for their support of the Ariane program – which they recently demonstrated once again – the French CNES space agency, and our industrial partners who produce Ariane 5.”
Le Gall also congratulated Arianespace’s operational team for their exceptional performance in 2010. “Your flexibility, reactivity, reliability, availability – and above all – the passion you bring enabled us to meet our engagements,” he added. “You have worked with perseverance and determination in responding to our objectives, and you have shown anew why you are the best operational team in the world.”
Arianespace’s six heavy-lift missions performed in 2010 by Ariane 5 carried a total payload weight of approximately 45,235 kg. into geostationary transfer orbit from the Spaceport in French Guiana. This was complemented by the 4,200-kg. mass of six Globalstar second-generation satellites placed into circular phasing orbit on an Arianespace Soyuz mission, conducted by its Starsem affiliate from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Today’s on-target Ariane 5 launch occurred at sunset in French Guiana, providing an excellent view of the vehicle’s ascent – including the separation of its two solid boosters at an altitude of some 67 km., and the payload fairing’s jettisoning at 106 km. This latest on-target mission was completed with the following estimated orbital parameters at the injection of its cryogenic upper stage:
– Perigee: 249.4 km. for a target of 249.4 km.
– Apogee: 35,922 km. for a target of 35,907 km.
– Inclination: 2.99 deg. for a target of 3.00 deg.
The Hispasat 1E satellite lofted by Ariane 5 was the sixth spacecraft launched by Arianespace for the Spanish-based HISPASAT telecommunications operator, continuing a relationship that traces its roots to the orbiting of HISPASAT 1A in 1992. With a liftoff mass of 5,320 kg., Hispasat 1E will provide high-quality capacity for HISPASAT’s new initiatives – which include direct to home television; digital terrestrial television; value-added broadband services in mobile, land and maritime environments; and high-definition television.
Hispasat 1E was the second large Space Systems/Loral-built telecommunication satellite launched in Ariane 5’s most recent two missions, coming after the Intelsat 17 payload lofted on November 26.
Today’s successful orbiting of KOREASAT 6 marked the second payload entrusted to Arianespace by KT Corporation, whose KOREASAT 3 satellite was launched in 1999. KOREASAT 6 had an estimated liftoff mass of 2,850 kg., and was built by an industry team composed of Orbital Sciences Corp. and Thales Alenia Space for the Republic of Korea’s KT Corporation. It will handle broadcasting and communications services across all of South Korea.
Looking to 2011, Arianespace will begin its launch activity on February 15 with an Ariane 5 mission carrying the second European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).