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Ariane Rocket Blasts Off with Two Satellites.


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An Ariane 5GS rocket lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana today. On board were two satellites: a Syracuse 3A defense satellite, built by Alcatel Alenia Space and a Galaxy 15 communications satellite built by Orbital Sciences Corporation. The satellites were released into their geostationary transfer orbits about 30 minutes after launch. This was the 23rd Ariane 5 launch.

Ariane 5 rocket.
Ariane 5 rocket with two Satellites on board. Image credit: ESA.

Just after midnight an Ariane 5GS successfully lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. The two solid boosters ignited 7 seconds after the start-up of the cryogenic main stage, providing the power needed to lift the heavy launcher off the pad.

On board was a Syracuse 3A, built by Alcatel Alenia Space for the French Ministry of Defence and a Galaxy 15 communications satellite built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, USA, for the American company PanAmSat. Galaxy 15 is the 20th satellite to be launched by Ariane launchers for this satellite communications operator.

On arriving at orbital injection, around 26 minutes after launch, the Ariane 5 was at an altitude of about 1560 km and travelling at approximately 8633 metres a second. Syracuse 3A was the first satellite to be released, followed approximately 10 minutes later by the Galaxy 15. Both satellites have been placed in the targeted geostationary transfer orbit with very high precision.

Flight 168 is the 23rd Ariane 5 launch.

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