See That Rocket?




Nice setting: a calm evening along the coast in French Guiana. Suddenly, there’s a huge clap and a rocket appears on the horizon. Awesome.

That’s what it’s like in the Department of French Guiana. Here’s the official story

After its 6:41 p.m. liftoff from the Spaceport, the vehicle’s cryogenic upper stage was injected with the following provisional orbital parameters:
– Perigee: 249.9 km. for a target of 249.7 km.
– Apogee: 35,972 km. for a target of 35,958 km.
– Inclination:  2.00 deg. for a target of 2.00 deg.

During tonight’s launch, the Arabsat-5A satellite was deployed first during the flight sequence, being released from atop Ariane 5’s payload “stack” at 26 min. into the mission.  Produced by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space on a turnkey contract for the Arabsat telecommunications operator, the satellite had a mass at liftoff of about 4,940 kg.

Arabsat-5A carries 24 Ku-band transponders and 28 C-band transponders for telecommunications and TV broadcasting services over the Middle East and Africa.  Astrium provided the Eurostar 3000 spacecraft platform and was responsible for satellite integration, while Thales Alenia Space supplied the payload.

This mission marked another milestone in Arianespace’s 25-year relationship with the Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat telecommunications operator, which began with the launch of Arabsat 1A in 1985 on an Ariane 3 vehicle. A total of seven Arabsat satellites have been launched by Arianespace during the past 25 years.

The COMS satellite passenger was separated from Ariane 5 at 32 min. into tonight’s flight, completing this second heavy-lift mission of 2010.  The multi-purpose COMS spacecraft for South Korea’s KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) is fitted with three payloads for meteorological observation, ocean surveillance and experimental broadband multimedia communications services.

Liftoff mass of the COMS Astrium-built Eurostar 3000 platform was 2,460 kg., and its communications payload came from the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in Korea.  COMS continues a collaboration that started with Arianespace’s launch of the Kitsat A and Kitsat B scientific microsats in 1992 and 1993 for Korea’s Satellite Technology Research Center (SaTReC), and was followed by the 1999 launch of the KOREASAT 3 communications satellite for Korea Telecom.

 Yeah, the video!