Ariane 5 flight VA255 sends two communications satellites into orbit for SES and the French military. Credit: Arianespace
Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket delivered two large communications satellites into space from the company’s South America launch site.
Liftoff for the mission, dubbed VA255, occurred at 10:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 23 (02:10 UTC Oct. 24), 2021, from Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Both satellites were deployed within 38 minutes of launch.
The Syracuse 4A and SES-17 satellites were deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit. Over the next days and weeks, they are expected to use their own onboard propulsion to climb to geostationary Earth orbit some 22,200 miles (35,800 kilometers).
“For this launch, we increased the Ariane 5 fairing volume by attaching a 1.5 [meter] raising cylinder to accommodate these two very large, stacked satellites,” Daniel de Chambure, ESA’s Acting Head of Ariane 5 adaptation and future missions, said in a press release. “The development and qualification of this adaptation was funded by ESA. Today’s launch of 11.2 [metric tons] to geostationary transfer orbit is a record performance for Ariane 5.”
SES-17, which had a launch mass of about 6400 kilograms, will eventually station itself over the Americas, the Caribbean ...