Ariane 5 conducts first of its seven planned launches for 2017

The European Heavy-lift rocket, the Ariane 5ECA, carried out is first launch of 2017 at 2139 UTC on 14 February. The mission was an all European industry affair with the launch vehicle and both satellites carried being built in Europe. With this launch the Ariane 5 achieved its 77th straight success and orbited 10,450 kg of payload.

 

Ariane 5 carrying SKY BRASIL-1 and TELKOM 3S lifts off from Kourou. Courtesy of Arianespace.

Ariane 5 carrying SKY BRASIL-1 and TELKOM 3S lifts off from Kourou. Courtesy of Arianespace.

 

The upper payload was the Sky Brasil-1 spacecraft for American Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting company DirecTV – now owned by AT&T. This satellite weighed at over 6,000 kg at launch and was based on the Eurostar E3000 satellite bus built by Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS).

Occupying the lower berth of the Ariane 5 was TELKOM 3S for Telkom Indonesia, the largest telecommunications company in Indonesia. This spacecraft had a mass of 3,550 kg and uses the Spacebus 4000B2 platform by Thales Alenia Space. Both of these spacecraft were integrated in their respective facilities in Toulouse, France.

This launch into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) is the first of seven planned Ariane 5 missions for 2017. Arianespace has the goal of 12 launches during the year. This consists of the seven Ariane 5 flights, an  three Soyuz (flown under Arianespace colours), the first of which flew in January, and two flights of the smallest launcher in the Arianespace stable: the Vega. The next Arianespace mission is Sentinel-2B, which is due to be launched by a Vega rocket on 6 March.

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