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Published on : Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Ariane 5 launched two telecommunication satellites weighing a total of 10.730 tonnes into space from the European spaceport in Kourou, a new record for the European launcher specialised in heavy payloads. The previous record of 10.5 tonnes, dates back to February 2013.
“Yet again, Ariane 5 has demonstrated itself as a leader on the world market, which doesn’t just happen by chance,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “This new record is just one of the many results of the Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Safran Launchers teams’ determination to continually improve the performance and competitiveness of the European launcher.”
The two satellites were precisely placed in a ‘transfer’ orbit, from which they reach their geostationary orbit using their on-board propulsion systems. In this orbit, 36,000 km above the Earth, the satellites move at a speed with which they can follow the planet’s rotation exactly. This enables them to constantly ‘watch’ the same point on the Earth and cover an area that corresponds to a third of the planet. The applications of the geostationary orbit include broadcasting television signals, transmitting telephone or internet data and meteorology.
Airbus Defence and Space, a 50% shareholder in Airbus Safran Launchers, is the main industrial partner of the Ariane 5 programme. Drawing on the expertise the company has acquired and the investments it has made for more than 10 years, Ariane 5 has become the most reliable commercial launcher on the global market and has increased its geostationary orbit payload capacity by almost two tonnes. Representing cutting-edge European expertise, the Ariane 5 launcher has been specially designed to inject heavy payloads into orbit.