71st consecutive successful launch for Ariane 5

• This second launch of the year, which placed again a single satellite into orbit, underscores the operational flexibility of the Ariane 5 launch system deployed by Airbus Safran Launchers, the industrial lead contractor for Ariane 5 and the future Ariane 6 • Another special feature of this launch was to conduct in-flight experiments, under the authority of the European Space Agency, studying the behaviour of propellants in conditions of weightlessness, as part of the Ariane 6 development process

The 229th mission of the Ariane 5 launcher, successfully placing the Eutelsat telecommunication satellite EUTELSAT 65 West A in its geostationary transfer orbit, took place today from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Launch performance was 6,707 kg (of which 6,564 kg was the actual satellite) to geostationary transfer orbit with an inclination of 0.5, thus optimising the lifetime of the satellite. This was the 8th launch of an Ariane 5 with Airbus Safran Launchers as lead contractor, in coordination with the teams from the parent companies, Airbus Defence and Space and Safran. For the second time this year, Airbus Safran Launchers has again demonstrated its ability to meet the needs requested by Arianespace to satisfy one of its main customers, adapting the launcher in record time to carry out an atypical single-satellite launch. The Ariane 5 ECA is optimised for dual satellite launches. 

"As with the previous launch, today's mission has been facilitated by the creation of Airbus Safran Launchers which, with Arianespace, enables us to improve how we anticipate requirements to adapt efficiently the production of the Ariane 5 launcher, and thus find the best win-win solution for the end customer, for Arianespace, and for all the companies involved in manufacturing the launchers," explained Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Safran Launchers." This launch is also an opportunity to contribute to the development of the Ariane 6 launch system. Once the commercial mission of this flight was completed, we then carried out experiments with numerous sensors to observe the movement of the propellant in order to improve control of their behaviour during the long ballistic phases necessary during the new missions that will be undertaken by Ariane 6."

The results obtained will be analysed by the European Space Agency (ESA), which financed this work with the support of Airbus Safran Launchers.

Airbus Safran Launchers has been the prime contractor for the Ariane 5 European launcher, one of the largest and most ambitious space programmes in the world, since January 2015. Building on the expertise of the Airbus and Safran groups, the company oversees an industrial network that brings together more than 550 companies (more than 100 of which are SMEs) in 12 European countries. Airbus Safran Launchers manages the entire industrial supply chain, which ranges from production of the launcher to its final configuration including providing flight software for the mission. This chain includes the equipment and structures, manufacture of the engines, integration of the different stages, and then integration of the launcher in Guiana. Representing cutting-edge European expertise, the Ariane 5 demonstrates its flexibility to inject heavy payloads into low orbit, two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit, one satellite optimising its lifetime, or several satellites into medium orbit..

Airbus Safran Launchers is also the prime contractor for the future European launcher Ariane 6, whose maiden flight is scheduled for 2020 and is expected to replace Ariane 5 in 2023, proposing an expanded flight envelope and a wider range of missions for a significantly lower price.

Ariane flight 229 in numbers

  • 229th Ariane launch
  • 85th Ariane 5 launch and 55th Ariane 5 ECA
  • 7th Ariane rocket to be delivered to Arianespace that was assembled and tested under the responsibility of Airbus Safran Launchers, the prime contractor
  • 71st consecutive success for Ariane 5
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