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The 6th Ariane 5 launch of the year is a success


Kourou, 4 December 2018
  • Ariane 5 placed two satellites in orbit for its sixth launch of 2018
  • This was the year's final launch for Ariane 5, which placed 13 satellites in orbit in 2018


In its final launch of 2018, Ariane 5 placed two satellites in geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), lifting off from the European spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana). GSAT-11 is a telecommunication satellite, while GEO-KOMPSAT-2A is designed to provide Earth and space weather observation.


This launch placed two satellites in orbit, with a total mass of 9,362 kg. The total performance required of the launcher was 10,297 kg, with the ACU (payload adapters), the SYLDA (Ariane dual launch system) and the LVA 3936 (Launch Vehicle Adaptor). The orbit was optimized thanks to the power of the Ariane 5 ECA launcher, which enabled the payloads to be placed in a transfer orbit with a reduced inclination of 3.5° (instead of the usual 6°).


"With these 6 launches in 2018, Ariane 5 once again demonstrated its performance and flexibility, notably by placing – for the third time – 4 Galileo satellites in orbit, by placing BepiColombo in its release orbit on the way to Mercury, by celebrating its 100th launch and by once again demonstrating its ability to launch more than 10 metric tons to geostationary orbit. I extend my warmest thanks to the teams at ArianeGroup and those of our subsidiary Arianespace for the work accomplished on this sixth launch of Ariane 5, marking the end of an intense 2018. The Ariane 5 successes, are paving the way for the future successes of Ariane 6. I would once again like to express my gratitude to the European Space Agency and the CNES for their confidence and their unflagging support," said Alain Charmeau, CEO of ArianeGroup.


As the industrial lead contractor for development and operation of the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers, ArianeGroup coordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including more than 350 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). ArianeGroup oversees all the industrial activities, from the performance improvements and studies necessary for Ariane 5 up to its production, the provision of data or software specific to each mission, without forgetting marketing activities via Arianespace. This chain includes equipment and structures, engines manufacturing, integration of the various stages and finally launcher integration in French Guiana.


The Ariane 246 flight in figures:

  • 102nd launch of an Ariane 5
  • 77h consecutive nominal ignition of the Vulcain® 2 engine
  • 102nd consecutive nominal ignition of the EAP solid propellant boosters
  • 142nd consecutive nominal ignition of the HM7B engine

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ArianeGroup develops and supplies innovative and competitive solutions for civil and military space launchers, with expertise in all aspects of state-of-the-art propulsion technologies. ArianeGroup is lead contractor for Europe's Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launcher families, responsible for both design and the entire production chain, up to and including marketing by its Arianespace subsidiary, as well as for the missiles of the French oceanic deterrent force. ArianeGroup and its subsidiaries enjoy a global reputation as specialists in the field of equipment and propulsion for space applications, while their expertise also benefits other industrial sectors. The group is a joint venture equally owned by Airbus and Safran, and employs approximately 9,000 highly qualified staff in France and Germany. Its 2017 revenues amounted to 3.4 billion euros.


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