French launcher Arianespace launched the Ariane 5 rocket from the Guyanese Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, tonight at 10:10 p.m. EDT (11:10 local Kourou time or 2:10 GMT Sunday, October 24).On board were a commercial communication satellite and the French military satellite, which with their rocket set a new record of 11.2 tonnes for an Arianespace launch. It was also the tallest Ariane 5 rocket ever launched, reaching nearly 1.5 meters taller than the typical 165-foot (50.5 m) thruster.
The launch came after a 24 hour delay to allow more time for additional checks of Arianespace’s ground systems at the launch pad. A “red condition” linked to the pressurization of the main cryogenic stage of the Ariane 5 rocket delayed the launch by just over an hour on Saturday evening before being resolved.
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In a statement on Saturday morning, Arianespace representatives said that a “anomaly” in the ground system that thwarted the scheduled launch on Friday “had been identified and corrected”, paving the way for tonight’s launch attempt. The mission successfully reached orbit with the SES-17 communications satellite for the Luxembourg telecommunications provider SES and the Syracuse 4A military communications satellite for the French Ministry of Defense.
Built by Thales Alenia Space, the SES-17 communications satellite is a high-speed communications satellite designed to serve SES customers in North America, South America and across the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean with coverage high-speed Ka-band communication from a geosynchronous system. orbit.
“It will meet the demands for high-speed and flexible data connectivity in the aviation, marine, business and government segments, advancing the region’s digitization goals and helping to bridge the digital divide,” SES officials wrote in a statement last month.
The satellite carries 200 spot beams with power levels that can be tailored to customer needs and is the first SES satellite to carry a fully digital payload powered by a transparent digital processor, according to Arianespace mission overview.
“Thales Alenia Space’s 5th Generation Transparent Digital Processor (DTP) on board SES-17 enables easy frequency conversions as well as unlimited gateway switching and traffic routing,” Arianespace wrote in the presentation. “Combined with flexible amplifiers, it will meet changing customer requirements and real-time traffic demands. “
The Syracuse 4A is also built by the French satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space and is designed to serve as a communication link between all the French armed forces and has been ordered by the country’s General Directorate of Armaments.
“At sea, in the air or on the ground, the military need secure and powerful means of communication in order to be able to exchange information with the command center”, writes Arianespace in its mission description. “Thanks to its state-of-the-art equipment (anti-jamming antenna and on-board transparent digital processor), Syracuse 4A will guarantee high resistance to extreme jamming methods. “
Syracuse 4A is expected to be joined by two more satellites in the future to create a constellation of military communications satellites that can link the country’s ships, armored vehicles and planes.
“Syracuse 4A will connect most warships, armored vehicles or moving planes: especially Griffon armored vehicles, the upcoming Suffren attack submarines or the Phoenix tanker,” Arianespace officials wrote.
Editor’s Note: This story, originally posted at 9 a.m. EDT, was updated on Saturday evening with confirmation of the successful launch of the Ariane 5 rocket and its two satellite payloads.