Arianespace managed to return to flights after lasting for over month break caused by strikes in French Guiana. Yesterday in the evening Ariane 5 delivered two communications satellites after flawless flight.
Weeks of strikes finally finished with agreement signed by representatives of main unions and French government which opened the door for resuming most of commercial activity in the region. After over 30 days of delay Arianespace managed to launch finally their Ariane 5 rocket with double payload.
Both satellites were delivered to French Guiana by plane on February 14, 2017, from Thales Alenia Space facility in Toulouse. On March 9 both satellites were already assembled and attached to SYLDA payload adapter and encapsulated under Ariane 5 fairing. Before break in launch campaign between March 20 and April 23 caused by strikes in French Guiana, rocket with payload was after final inspection. Finally after resuming launch campaign and final inspection Ariane 5 was rolled out and delivered to launch pad on Wednesday, May 3.
Yesterday key moment of the last pre-launch preparations was beginning of the fueling process – four hours 21 minutes before T=0 planned for 20:31 UTC. Unfortunately heavy storms caused delay and preparing ground segment was started later comparing to previous plans. Ground service teams were also forced to solve some minor problems and finally launch was moved for another hour. Finally at 21:51 UTC Ariane-5 ECA supported by two solid rocket boosters (EAB) started to rise over the launch pad. Each EAB is long for 36 m with diameter at 3.05 m what makes them longer than first stage of the rocket, which is long for 30.5 m (with diameter at 5.4 m). During first phase of flight boosters along with first stage are generating over 7000 kN of thrust. Boosters were separated at T+2’21”, one minute later at T+3’22” nose cone was jettisoned and both satellites installed on payload adapter were exposed. Next phase of flight begun with cutting off main Vulcain-2 engine at T+8’53”, which stopped providing 1390 kN of thrust. This allowed rocket to jettison first stage and start its HM7B upper stage engine fueled with liquid oxygen and hydrogen at T+8’59”. Second stage weighing 4540 kg and long for 5.4 m with diameter at 4.7 m begun its autonomous flight. At T+23’06” rocket was tracked for the first time by ground station in Malindi. First injection of the satellite was performed at T+28’11” when SGDC placed on SYLDA adapter over the Koreasat-7 was successfully deployed. Next after another 7 minutes upper stage jettisoned SYLDA and finally at T+53’30” deployed Koreasat-7.
Koreasat-7 is communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for KTSAT. It weighs 3680 kg with following dimensions: 2.3 m x 1.75 m x 3.39 m. It was created on the SpaceBus 4000B2 satellite bus. It is equipped with 3 axis stabilization system, two deployable solar arrays, and onboard batteries (power consumption is 8 kW). During its lasting for 15 years mission it will provide communication services for Korea, the Philippines, Indochina, India, Indonesia with its 30 Ku and Ka band transponders. Satellite will be located at 116° East orbital slot.
SGDC was contracted for Thales Alenia by VISIONA Tecnologia Espacial S.A. Satellite was build on Spacebus 4000C4 and weighs 5735 kg with following dimensions: 7.10 m x 2.20 m x 2.0 m. It is powered by solar arrays and onboard batteries (12 kW power consumption), it is 3 axis stabilized. With its 57 Ka and X band transponders it will provide access to Internet in Brazil operating from 75° West orbital slot for at least of 18 years.