For its fourth launch of the year and the third in just two months, Ariane 5 successfully completed its 80th consecutive successful mission, placing two telecommunications satellites in geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) from the European space port of Kourou (French Guiana). The launch performance was 9,256 kg net mass for the satellites, or a gross mass of 10,136 kg (including the ACU [payload adapters], the SYLDA [Ariane dual launch system) and the LVA 3936 [Launch Vehicle Adaptor]).
The launcher continuous improvement program enabled the use of an optimized GTO orbit, with an inclination reduced to 3° in order to minimize the energy required for the satellites to reach their final orbit.
This continuous improvement of Ariane 5 contributes both to performance and the containment of production costs, and directly benefits the future Ariane 6, scheduled for its first flight in 2020.
"Completing three successful Ariane 5 launches between 4 May and 28 June is a new technical and operational achievement for the teams at ArianeGroup and its subsidiary Arianespace, supported by the entire European launcher industry. It again demonstrates the efficiency of the new European launcher governance for the operation of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, while paving the way for the introduction of Ariane 6", said Alain Charmeau, CEO of ArianeGroup. "It is one of the many reasons why I would again like to thank our teams for their talent and motivation, and the European Space Agency and CNES for their continued trust and support."
Lead contractor for the Ariane 5 launchers and the future Ariane 6, Airbus Safran Launchers will change its name to ArianeGroup on 1 July of this year. This new identity underlines its status as an international group and further reinforces a coherent image with Arianespace, its 74%-owned subsidiary since 31 December 2016.
ArianeGroup coordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries (including more than 350 Small and Medium Enterprises). Airbus Safran Launchers oversees the entire industrial chain, from management of launcher performance to its final setting, supplying the flight software for the mission through the control of its production and its marketing via Arianespace. This chain includes equipment and structures, engines manufacturing, integration of the various stages and, finally, launcher integration in French Guiana.
The Ariane 238 flight in figures:
- 94th launch of an Ariane 5
- 63rd launch of an Ariane 5 ECA
- 17th Ariane 5 launch with Airbus Safran Launchers as lead contractor
- 68th consecutive success by a launcher fitted with a Vulcain® 2 engine and the solid propellant strap-on boosters (EAP)
- 136th consecutive success by a launcher fitted with the HM7B engine