Ariane 5 successfully completed its first launch of the year, Flight VA235, on 14th February from the European space port of Kourou (French Guiana). The mission, which placed two telecommunications satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), was the 77th consecutive success for the European launcher.
The launch performance achieved by the Ariane 5 ECA was 10,450kg in GTO (including 9,569kg for the satellites). The launcher improvement programme enabled the inclination angle to be reduced to 4° in order to minimize the energy the satellites need to reach their final orbit.
Lift-off occurred at 6:39 p.m. (local time). At 27 minutes into the flight, Ariane 5 deployed SKY Brasil-1 from the launcher’s upper payload position. Developed for utilization by AT&T/DIRECTV via its DIRECTV Latin America subsidiary, SKY Brasil-1 will expand direct-to-home high-definition programming for Brazil. The spacecraft was produced in Toulouse, France using Airbus Defence and Space’s Eurostar E3000 platform, and will operate from an orbital slot of 43.1 deg. West.
Telkom 3S was in the Ariane 5’s lower payload position, and was produced at Toulouse and Cannes, France, based on Thales Alenia Space’s Spacebus 4000B2 platform. Designed for the delivery of high-definition television services, as well as mobile communications and Internet applications for Telkom Indonesia, Telkom 3S will provide coverage over Indonesia and Southeast Asia from an orbital location of 118 deg. East.
It was the 91st launch of an Ariane 5 and the 14th Ariane 5 launch with Airbus Safran Launchers as lead contractor. For Arianesapce, it was the second launch of the year, following the Soyuz launch on 27th January. The next liftoff is scheduled for March 6, using a Vega launcher to orbit Sentinel-2B, which is the latest addition to the European Union’s Copernicus Earth observation satellite fleet.