Tag Archives: Ariane V

Another successful Ariane V mission: Sky Brasil-1 and Telkom-3S

Just a few hours ago, Arianespace racked up their first heavy launch of the year, sending a dual-payload Ariane V with two geosynchronous commsats aboard from Kourou, French Guiana.  The payloads are Sky Brasil-1, to serve customers in Brazil, and Telkom 3S, to serve customers in Indonesia.  This was the ninety-first Ariane V mission overall.  The rocket has enjoyed a strong record, with only two failures and two partial failures out of 91 flights, and it has had no failures of any kind in the last seventy-six missions.

Next flight of 2017 will be a PSLV from India, to launch in just a few hours with a big mapping satellite and a veritable horde of 103 smallsats.  I will write about it tomorrow.  😉

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Three days, three launches: ERG, Star One D1/JCSAT 15, and TanSat

2016 is wrapping up with some fireworks: three orbital rocket launches this week, and then possibly up to three more next week!

First off, on Tuesday, the Exploration of Energization and Radiation in Geospace, or ERG, spacecraft (to be renamed Arase after postlaunch checkout, after a river near the launch site) blasted off from the Uchinoura Space Center on the island of Kyushu, Japan, atop an Epsilon rocket.  The all-solid-prop Epsilon is a lower-cost replacement to the legacy Mu series of lighter-weight rockets, designed to require a very small launch team and capable of rapid deployment and hopefully to become a strong commercial contender internationally.  This is only its second flight.  Epsilon’s prime contractor is IHI Aerospace; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which builds the much larger H-II rocket, is a supplier, as is NEC.  The payload, ERG, will be operated by JAXA on a highly elliptical orbit that will force it to pass repeatedly through the Van Allen Belts for the purpose of better understanding them.  It will join two NASA spacecraft already on that mission, permitting three-way observation.

Then there were two launches yesterday.  First, from Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana, an Ariane V heavy lift rocket lifted two commsats to geosynchronous transfer orbit: Star One D1, to provide television and telecommunications services to South America for Embratel Star One of Brazil, and JCSAT 15, to provide television services for SKY Perfect JSAT Corp of Japan.

 

And then overnight, a scientific Earth observation satellite designed to monitor CO2 levels, TanSat, launched into polar orbit aboard a Long March 2D rocket from Jiuquan in northern China.  The spacecraft will be capable of mapping CO2 concentrations down to four parts per million worldwide, and also carries instruments relating to cloud and aerosol detection.  Don’t be alarmed by all the sparklies you see falling — those are sheets of ice illuminated by the brilliant rocket plume.  Ice formation is extremely common on liquid-propellant rockets, since the oxidizer at minimum is chilled to cryogenic temperatures.

All of these launches were completely successful.  There are three more launches planned for 2016, and hopefully they will go just as well: another Long March 2D, a Long March 3B, and a Proton.

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Launch of Soyuz MS-03 with the ISS crew and Ariane V with Galileo satellites

Today, two rockets lifted off.  First, from Kourou in French Guiana, an Ariane V launched the next five elements of the Galileo satellite navigation constellation:

 

Then, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Soyuz MS-03 blasted off.  The crew are Russian Soyuz commander Oleg Novitskiy, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (who, with this launch, has broken the record for oldest female astronaut previously held by Barbara Morgan), and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of ESA.

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Ariane & New Shepard both fly!

Ariane V completed another flawless mission from Kourou, French Guiana yesterday, placing into orbit Sky Muster 2 for Australia and GSAT 18 for India.  Both are geosynchronous commsats, the mainstay of Ariane V’s customer base.

And also yesterday, Blue Origin completed the fifth flight of their New Shepherd reusable suborbital rocket.  This flight did continue to test the rocket, but that wasn’t the main focus.  This mission was an inflight abort test.  The booster did not simulate an emergency; after the spacecraft separated, it continued merrily along its way (albeit at lower thrust to compensate for the loss of mass) and returned neatly to Earth on its own.  The escape looked a bit, well, “blarg-tastic” is the word that came to mind for me, as it yawed around dramatically.  I would bet that Blue Origin will be studying the data from sensors inside to make sure G-loads didn’t exceed human tolerance; the point of an escape isn’t to be comfy, but to be survivable.  Nevertheless, this fifth flight is expected to be the final flight for this particular vehicle.

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Intelsat’s first double-launch, aboard Ariane V

The venerable and highly reliable Ariane V roared into space from Kourou, French Guiana yesterday, carrying two Intelsat payloads to geosynchronous transfer orbit.  Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 were released into the desired trajectories on the first double-launch for one of the world’s oldest commercial satellite operators.  These new satellites are in Intelsat’s “Epic” class and are intended to expand Intelsat’s market from traditional satellite users (a market they presently dominate in the Western Hemisphere) to mobile users (a market presently dominated by Inmarsat).  Epic spacecraft have cutting-edge capabilities for rapid adjustments in the bandwidth available depending on need, making them far more capable than their predecessors in the market.

As far as Arianespace is concerned, it was one more successful launch:

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Going Up and Coming Down: Ariane V’s heaviest load, and Soyuz TMA-19M Returns

Two big spaceflight events today.  😉  Ariane V blasted off from Kourou in French Guiana, carrying EchoStar 18 andBRISat.  Combined, they represented the heaviest payload ever launched by the mighty Ariane V.  EchoStar 15 will serve DISH television customers in the United States, while BRISat will provide secure satellite communication links for financial transactions in Indonesia, a nation distributed across many islands and therefore heavily dependent on radio communications.

And on the other side of the planet, Soyuz TMA-19M descended to the plains of Kazakhstan.  The descent was nominal.  The three crew are in good health: Yuri Malenchenko (Ukrainian, flying for Russia), Tim Kopra (United States) and Tim Peake (United Kingdom, flying for ESA).  It’s kind of a noisy replay; I assume that’s noise from the recovery helicopter that is carrying the camera.  You can jump to 5:20 if you want to see the soft landing thrusters fire.

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French aerospace power: the Ariane V roars into space

What happened in Paris a few days ago was shocking, horrible, and all the things that the perpetrators no doubt intended.  It’s a beautiful city, full of wonderful people, and it’s very sad when something like this happens to it.  But it is a strong city, and it will go on.  I will post more on the subject later, once I have all my thoughts in order, because this is important to get right.

But in the meantime, as I do like to post rocket launch videos, it seems appropriate to bring up the latest launch of a French rocket: the mighty Ariane V, departing from Kourou in French Guiana.  Last week, it carried a dual payload of Arabsat-6B and GSAT15.  Arabsat-6B is a commsat built by Airbus with communications payloads from Thales intended to serve television and broadband Internet customers across Africa, central Asia, and the Mideast.  GSAT15 is owned and operated by the Indian Space Research Organization and will provide communications services for a variety of customers but primarily civil aviation and emergency services in India, with also a navigation payload to provide a domestic satellite navigation capability.

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