Every weekend, an image that made the news or caught our attention. On the night of July 5 to 6, the European heavy launcher carried out its last mission, serving geostationary telecommunications.
The ultimate take offAriadne 5 since Guiana Space Centeron July 5 at 22:00 UTC, will have offered us a spectacle as dramatic as it is grandiose: a countdown full of suspense (with an initial postponement of two weeks for technical reasons, then a red weather report postponing the launch for an additional 24 hours) , a palpable tension, exceptional visibility in the Guyanese night, a perfect positioning, and an immense final emotion, the success being at the rendezvous at the end of a mission of 33 minutes and 32 seconds.
In the service of telecommunications
The objective of the mission VA261 was to place in geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) two telecommunications satellites, one (civilian) for the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the other (military) on behalf of the Directorate General of Armaments (CEO): Heinrich Hertz And Syracuse 4B.
That is a total onboard weight of 7,680 tons.
A solid balance sheet
In 27 years, between June 4, 1996 and July 5, 2023, the fourth-generation European heavy launcher launched 117 times from Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA3) from the Guiana Space Center.
It has put a total of 239 satellites into orbit (including 197 in GTO orbit), on behalf of 70 different customers.
Ariane 5 bows out with a success rate of 96.6%.