Arianespace has successfully deployed two communications satellites aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was the operator’s first of 2019 kicking off the 40th anniversary of the Ariane family of launch vehicles.
The Ariane 5 ECA carrying two communications satellites lifted off from the Guiana Space Center at 21:01 UTC (18:01 local time). At approximately 27 minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s upper stage deployed the HS-4/SGS-1 satellite into its geostationary orbit. At 42 minutes after liftoff, the second and final payload, the GSAT-31 separated from rocket’s upper stage successfully concluding the mission. To view additional information on the two payloads, view our Arianespace Prepares for First Mission of 2019 post.
In addition to being the first Arianespace mission of 2019, the launch kicked off the 40th-anniversary celebrations of the Ariane family of launch vehicles.
“This year we kick off the 40th-anniversary celebration of the first launch of Europe’s Ariane rocket with a successful launch of Ariane 5,” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël. “Through this emblematic flight, Arianespace underscores the reliability of our heavy launcher, the benchmark in the launch segment for geostationary telecommunications satellites.”
The first Ariane rocket, the Ariane 1 was launched on its maiden mission on December 24, 1979. The mission deployed the first artificial Earth satellite launched by the European Space Agency on a homegrown rocket. Since that first launch over 247 Ariane missions have been launched.
As Arianespace celebrates its past, the company’s future looks bright. The Ariane 6 currently under development is expected to be more powerful and more affordable due to the inclusion of a reusable first stage. Currently, the Ariane 6 is scheduled to be launched on its maiden mission towards the end of 2020.