An Ariane 5 has chalked up the 73rd consecutive launch success for the European launcher, delivering two telecom satellites, Intelsat-33e and Intelsat-36, into their planned orbits. The total payload mass was a record 10,735kg, marginally more than the 10,730kg registered on the launcher’s previous mission, on 18th June. The satellites totalled about 9,853kg, with payload adapters and carrying structures making up the rest.
Liftoff of flight VA232 occurred on 24th August at 22:16 GMT from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Intelsat-33e, with a mass at liftoff of 6,600kg and mounted in the upper position atop Ariane’s Sylda dual-payload carrier inside the fairing, was the first to be released about 28 minutes into the mission.
Following a series of engine burns, the Sylda structure encasing the 3,253kg Intelsat-36 was then jettisoned. Intelsat-36 was released into its own transfer orbit about 13 minutes after the first satellite.
Both satellites have a design life of 15 years and are owned by satellite operator Intelsat.
Flight VA232 was the 87th Ariane 5 mission and the 57th launch of an Ariane 5 ECA.