Ariane 5 performs 50th successful launch in a row
Tonight marked the 50th successful Ariane flight in a row: an Ariane 5 was launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana to perform a dual deployment of two telecommunications satellites, Intelsat 20 and Hylas-2.
Lift off of flight VA208 took place on Thursday 2 August at 22:54 CEST; 17:54 French Guiana time. This was Ariane 5’s fourth launch of 2012, continuing a line of launch successes unbroken since 2003.
Including its double payload, the 50.5-m-tall Ariane 5 ECA had a total lift-off mass of 780 tonnes. Its target injection orbit had a perigee (low point) of 249.5 km and apogee (high point) of 35 934 km with an inclination of 6° relative to the equator.
Weighing approximately 6090 kg at launch, Intelsat 20 was built for international satellite operator Intelsat by US-based Space Systems/Loral. Positioned in geostationary orbit at 68.5 degrees East – above the Indian Ocean – the satellite is replacing the Intelsat 7 and 10 satellites to provide video, telephone and data transmission services for Europe, Africa, Russia and the Middle East.
With a launch mass of 3325 kg, Hylas-2 was constructed for UK company Avanti Communications by US-based Orbital Sciences Corporation. Positioned in geostationary orbit at 33.5 degrees West – above the Atlantic – the satellite employs high-bandwidth Ka-band to provide broadband internet and two-way data services across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.