Arianespace Prepare for 100th Ariane 5 Missions

During their busiest year to date, Arianespace prepare for 100th Ariane 5 launch.
VA-243 and VA-244 Ariane 5 rockets undergoing testing at Guiana Space Centre | Image credit: Arianespace

European launch provider Arianespace are preparing for the 99th and 100th launch of their Ariane 5 rocket. The launches are currently scheduled for late July and early September from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

The Ariane 5 rocket was first successfully launched on October 21, 1998, following two failures in 1996 and 1997. In total, it has been launched 98 times suffering three partial failures and two outright failures. With the launch of 99th and 100th Ariane 5 mission, the rocket will join an elite group of vehicles that have passed the monumental milestone, a group that includes the space shuttle and the Delta II.

VA-224 – Galileo FOC FM 19–22

Scheduled for July 25, 2018, the 99th launch (VA-224) of the Ariane 5 aims to deploy four Galileo satellites. The Galileo FOC FM 19, 20, 21 and 22 satellites will be called Tara, Samuel, Anna, and Ellen respectively. The names are a continuation of a tradition of naming each satellite after a child that won the European Commission’s Galileo drawing competition. The four satellites have already been shipped to the Guiana Space Centre in preparation for the launch.

The Galileo satellite constellation is used for civilian and commercial satellite navigation. The system is Europe’s answer to the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS).

VA-243 – Intelsat 38 | Horizons-3a

Designated VA-243, the 100th launch of the Ariane 5 will deploy two satellites for customers Intelsat, Azercosmos, and Horizons Satellite (a joint venture between Intelsat and SKY Perfect JSAT Group).

The Intelsat 38 satellite will provide network connectivity to Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. The satellite was built by Space Systems Loral and will be operated by Intelsat and Azercosmos OJSCo. It will offer continuity of service for the Intelsat 12 satellite as well as offering enhanced capacity and coverage for Azercosmos.

The second payload aboard VA-243 is the Horizons-3e satellite. Designed and manufactured by Boeing, the 6.6-ton satellite is the sixth addition to the Intelsat EpicNG constellation. EpicNG, according to Intelsat is a “High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) platform” that utilises C-band and Ku-band frequencies.

In addition to launches in July and September, Arianespace hopes to launch an additional five mission before the end of the year. If the European provider does achieve the feat, the 9-launch year will be the busiest since the Ariane 5 entered service over two decades ago.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.