vendredi 26 janvier 2018

Arianespace: Satellite put into orbit at the wrong place

CNES / ESA / Arianespace Flight VA241 Mission poster.

Jan. 26, 2018

Two satellites, including the SES-14 for the Luxembourg operator SES, were put into orbit Thursday night by the European launcher Ariane 5, but not at the right place.

The two telecommunications satellites, embarked aboard the European launcher Ariane 5, which took off Thursday night from Guyana, were put into orbit, but, rare, not in the right place.

Arianespace, contacted by AFP, hoped, however, a future "repositioning satellites in the right place with their propulsion system." "The latest news was reassuring after strong concerns," added the company that markets the launches.

Ariane 5 Flight VA241 lift off

Big fright indeed for its first launch of the year. Shortly after the start of the operation, Arianespace's CEO, Stéphane Israël, announced an "anomaly" in the Jupiter room of the Kourou Space Center and reported a "loss of contact with the launcher".

A loss of contact, "a little over nine minutes" after takeoff and "a few seconds after the ignition of the upper deck" and which lasted "from the 9th to the 37th minute of the mission", has Arianespace said in a statement.

Two telecommunications satellites

From then on, the mission's "second control station" located in Natal, Brazil, did not acquire launcher telemetry, Arianespace notes. The situation was the same at the Ascencion station, on a South Atlantic island (supposed to collect data 13 minutes and 36 seconds after take-off), at that of Libreville in Gabon (18 minutes and 19 seconds after its take-off) and that near the town of Malindi in Kenya (22 minutes and 56 seconds after take-off). If "thereafter, the two satellites were confirmed separated, acquired and put into orbit", notes Arianespace's release they were "not separated at the place where they should have been".

SES-14 satellite

The European rocket had taken off Thursday as scheduled at 19:20 local time (23:20 in Paris), the Guiana space center of Kourou, carrying two telecommunications satellites, SES-14 for the Luxembourg operator SES and Al Yah 3 for Yahsat, operator of the United Arab Emirates.

The SES-14 satellite also hosts a scientific load for NASA's exploration program GOLD (Global-scale Observation of the Limb and Disk), a program that must allow, from a geostationary orbit, to reconstitute all half-hour a complete picture of the terrestrial disk.

Al Yah 3 satellite

Built by Airbus Defense and Space in Toulouse, SES-14, a little over 4.4 tons on takeoff, is the 53rd satellite operator SES (European Satellite Company) to be launched by Arianespace since 1984, has indicated Arianespace.

Built by Orbital ATK, Al Yah 3, with a take-off weight of nearly 3.8 tonnes, is the second satellite to be taken for Yahsat (Al Yah Satellite Communications Company), after a first launch in 2011.

Related articles:

Ariane 5: loss of contact with the launcher

NASA GOLD Mission to Image Earth’s Interface to Space

For more information about Arianespace, visit:

Images, text, Credits: AFP/Arianespace/Airbus/Orbital ATK/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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