On August 24, 2016 at 22:17 GMT Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Guiana Space Center in its 231st flight, with two communication satellites under payload fairing: Intelsat-33E by Boeing and Intelsat-36 by SSL. Both spacecraft will enhance offer of American Intelsat Company over Europe, Africa and South Asia. It was fourth launch by Arianespace in 2016.

Ariane 5 ECA (equipped with cryogenic upper stage) was launched from ELA-3 at Guiana Space Center with little delay. Countdown procedure was paused at 21:51 GMT but fortunately it was resumed after 21 minutes and it was possible to launch Ariane before end of the launch window scheduled for 22:40 GMT. At 22:10 GMT rocket was fueled and all the systems were checked; four minutes later valves leading to Vulcan main engine of the rocket were opened. Eighteen seconds before start Vulcan engine was ignited and finally at 22:16 GMT weighing 777 t rocket started to lift off.

First stage long for 30.5 m with diameter at 5.4m was supported during first 2 minutes 30 seconds (to altitude of 77 km) by two solid fueled boosters (single EAB booster is long for 36 m with diameter at 3.05 m); whole propulsion of the rocket generated over 7000 kN of thrust, making possible lifting 10735 kg of payload. One minute after separation of both boosters, long for 17 m with diameter at 5.4 m payload fairing was jettisoned on altitude of 130 km when rocket was flying with speed of 8500 km/h. Rocket still was monitored by Galliot tracking station at Guiana Space Center. At T+7’52” rocket was tracked for the first time by Natal tracking station in Brazil. First stage of the rocket was separated at altitude of 158 km at T+9’15”. Second stage weighing 4540 kg, long for 5.4 m with diameter at 4.7 m, started its HM7B engine fueled with liquid oxygen and hydrogen. Rocket was tracked for the first time by station on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean five minutes later, when it was continuing flight over Atlantic on altitude of 160 km with speed of around 29000 km/h. When upper stage of the Ariane 5 was tracked by station placed in Libreville in Gabon, it already reached orbit with apogee at 35871 km, perigee at 250 km and inclination at 6°. Passing over Africa with speed of 33000 km/h, rocket was tracked by tracking station in Kenya four minutes later, shortly before final injection. At T+25’20” HM7B engine stopped working and upper stage begun to prepare for deploying Intelsat-33E using Sylda adapter. Intelsat-33E was deployed at T+28′; next Sylda jettisoned part of the fairing and at T+43′ Intelsat-36 was finally deployed. Initial tests conducted three hours later confirmed, that both satellites are operating correctly.

Intelsat-36 is geostationary communication satellite built on SSL-1300 bus by SSL. It operates using 30 Ku and 10 C band transponders. It weighs 3253 kg; it is powered with onboard batteries and two solar arrays. Its apogee kick motor is single R-4D-11 thruster fueled with NTO / MMH propellant.  Satellite will remain operational for 15 years allocated with Intelsat-20 on 68.5° East slot. Weighing 6600 kg Intelsat-33E was built by Boeing with utilization of BSS-702MP bus and is also equipped with Ku and C band transponders. It will replace on GEO orbital slot 60° East Intelsat-904. During its lasting for 15 years mission it will be powered with two deployable solar arrays.