2008-08-18 - Ariane 5 launchAriane 5 launches two satellites
Fünfter Ariane-Start des Jahres<br /> Arianespace confirmed its ability to provide high-quality, on-target Ariane 5 missions at an accelerated rate with today's successful launch that placed the Superbird-7 and AMC-21 telecommunications satellites into accurate geostationary transfer orbits. This was the 9th mission performed by Ariane 5s in a 12-month period, during which the workhorse vehicles carried 16 civilian and military telecommunications satellites along with the first Automated Transfer Vehicle for the International Space Station - lofting a combined total payload weight of 75,430 kg.
The flight also marked the Ariane 5's 27th consecutive successful launch, and was the fifth of seven missions planned by Arianespace in 2008.
The heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA's on-time liftoff occurred at 5:44 p.m. local time in French Guiana on 14 August, providing a daytime view of the vehicle's trajectory as it headed downrange from the Spaceport. Superbird-7 rode in the upper position of Ariane 5's dual payload "stack," and was released first during the half-hour mission - separating 26 minutes into the flight. The spacecraft was orbited by Arianespace for Japanese operator Space Communications Corporation (SCC) in the framework of a contract with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Once positioned at its orbital slot of 144 degrees East, Superbird-7 will succeed Space Communications Corporation's current Superbird-C satellite, and is designed to provide a wide range of Ku-band telecommunications services with enhanced performance. Superbird-7 is based on the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation's DS2000 satellite platform, and it had a liftoff mass of 4,820 kg.