Kourou, 23 Jun 2022 (AFP) – The European space industry managed on Wednesday (22) to put two telecommunications satellites into orbit aboard an Ariane 5 rocket, thus reactivating their activity in the cosmos after the suspension of Russian Soyuz launches due to the war in Ukraine.
The rocket took off at 6:50 pm local time from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana after a 45-minute stoppage in the countdown to check for technical issues, an AFP journalist said.
Ariane 5 was loaded with satellites Measat-3d, operated by Malaysian operator Measat, and GSAT-24, operated by the commercial arm of the Indian space agency ISRO, Arianespace and Arianegroup announced in a joint statement.
The two satellites, which had a payload of 9.8 tonnes, will be used for telecommunication services and satellite television broadcasting.
The Measat-3d will also be able to offer broadband internet connection services and will be used by the South Korean special agency to improve air traffic management in the country.
Just over 28 minutes after launch, the rocket launched the Malaysian satellite at almost 1,200 km, and 12 minutes later, it launched GSAT-24 at 3,800 km.
From these orbits, the two satellites will travel to their position almost 36,000 km from Earth, where they will carry out their missions.
The expected lifespan of the Measat-3d is over 18 years, while that of the GSAT-24 is around 15 years.
For the Guyana Space Center (CSG), the launch is the second of the year after a Russian Soyuz rocket took off on February 10.
Then, the February 24 invasion of Ukraine cut off all European space industry cooperation with Russia and deprived Kourou of three more Soyuz launches scheduled for this year.
The European Space Agency (ESA), responsible for European launch programs, still has to secure the launch of two Ariane 5 rockets and two smaller Vega rockets before the end of the year.
Among them is the inaugural flight of Vega-C, the most powerful version of that rocket, scheduled for July 7.
Instead, the first release of an Ariane 6, which will replace the Ariane 5, has been pushed back to 2023.