Late last evening local time an Ariane 5 ECA launcher lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit . Liftoff took place at 20:46 in French Guiana (00:46 CET).
The 50.5-metre tall launcher was carrying the Spaceway 2 telecommunication satellite for the American operator DIRECTV and the Telkom 2 telecommunication satellite for the Indonesian operator PT. Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk. With a mass of over 6100 kg, Spaceway 2 is one of the largest telecom satellites ever launched into geostationary orbit. The upper stage cryogenic engine was shut down 24:48 minutes after liftoff. By this time the launcher had attained a velocity of approximately 9.3 km per second. Spaceway 2 was the first satellite to separate, 27:24 minutes after liftoff, followed by the Telkom-2 satellite nearly 6 minutes later. Injection into the target geostationary transfer orbit of the two satellites was achieved with very high precision.
This is the 168th Ariane launch and the 24th Ariane 5 launch.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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