Image Credit & Copyright: Arianespace image of the launch of VA-227.
LAUNCH ALERT: Today, Wednesday, January 27, at 23:20 UTC (18:20 EST) Arianespace will commence the 2016 launch season with the massive and beautiful Ariane 5 ECA rocket (designated Flight VA228). This mission will place the Intelsat 29e communication satellite, which will service the Americas and the Caribbean Sea, into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
Launch will take place from Launch Site, Ensemble de Lancement Ariane-3 (ELA-3) at the Arianespace Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This will be the 81st launch of the Ariane 5 and its 1st launch in 2016.
Arianespace, Ariane 5 Rocket: is a 2-stage expendable launch vehicle that comes in two variants (ECA & ES) and carries payloads weighing more than 10 metric tons to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) and over 20 metric tons into low-Earth orbit (LEO). Closing in on 100 launches (81) with only 2 failures it’s earned it a place in history as an overall reliable heavy lift delivery system.
Ariane 5 ECA: is the heavy-lift workhorse for missions to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), and usually carries two satellite payloads. The Ariane 5 ES is tailored for low-Earth orbit missions with the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) – a resupply spacecraft for the International Space Station that weighs more than 19,000 kg at liftoff. This Ariane 5 version also is capable of lofting satellites for Europe’s new Galileo space-based navigation system. The primary difference from the Ariane 5 ECA configuration is the use of a storable propellant upper stage, which can perform multiple burns to deploy payloads into the desired orbit.
ARIANE 5 ECA & ES CONFIGURATION EXPLAINED: ARIANE5 ECA & ES = Heavy lift rocket that stands 53m (173.8ft) tall and is 5.4m (17.7ft) in diameter and is equipped with two solid rocket boosters.
PAYLOAD FAIRING = The main payload fairing is a 2-shell fairing that’s 5.4 m. (17.7 ft.) in diameter and 20 m. (65.6 ft.) in length. Roughly 3 minutes and 100 km after liftoff the shells are pyrotechnically jettisoned. Inside the fairing of the ECA configuration is the structure that accommodates two satellites called “Systeme de Lancement Double Ariane 5” or SYLDA 5.
SECOND STAGE (For the ECA configuration) = Also called the Cryogenic Upper Stage or “Etage Superieur Cryotechnique” (ESC-A) is 5.4m (17.7ft) in diameter by 4.7m (15.4ft) in length. It’s powered by a single HM7B engine that burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen (LOX/LH2) creating 14,000lb 6.5 t of thrust. Burn time for the second stage varies depending on the mission but can operate for around 945 seconds. The second stage also houses the Vehicle Equipment Bay (VEB-C) or “The Brain” which controls the entire vehicle autonomously and also transmits flight data back to the ground.
SECOND STAGE (For the ES configuration) = “Etage Propergols Stockables” (EPS) is 3.9 m (12.8 ft) in diameter by 3.35 m (11 ft) in length. It differs from the ECA configuration because it is not cryogenic, meaning that it carries storable propellants. It’s powered by a single Aestus engine that burns monomethylhdrazine & nitrogen tetroxide creating 14,000lb 6.5 t of thrust. The second stage for this configuration can be reignited many times to suit the mission’s needs. The second stage also houses the Vehicle Equipment Bay (VEB-C) or “The Brain” which controls the entire vehicle autonomously and also transmits flight data back to the ground.
SOLID ROCKET BOOSTERS = 2 expendable SRBs known as Etage dAcceleration a Poudre or (EAPs) are attached to the Ariane 5 and they provide about 90% of the thrust at liftoff which equates to about 1200 t of thrust. They each stand 31.6m (103.7ft) tall and are 3m (10ft) in diameter. They are each powered by a single engine that burns solid fuel (Ammonium Perchlorate, Aluminum Powder and Polybutadiene); burn time is 135 seconds.
MAIN CORE CRYOGENIC STAGE (1st Stage) = The Core Cryogenic Stage, known as Etage Principal Cryotechnique or (EPC) stands 30 m. (98.4 ft.) high and has a diameter of 5.4m (17.7 ft.). It’s powered by a single Vulcan-2 engine which provides 136 t of thrust. It burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen (LOX/LH2) and burns for 540 seconds.
LIVE STREAMING FEEDS: (They also have a great mobile APP for launches)
Live Streaming Launch: http://www.arianespace.tv/
Arianespace Livestream: http://www.livestream.com/arianespace
European Space Agency (ESA) Space in Videos: http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/esalive
European Space Agency (ESA) Livestream: http://www.livestream.com/eurospaceagency
CNES website for launch: http://www.cnes.fr/web/CNES-en/10082-follow-ariane-launch-live.php
MISSION DATA LINKS:
VA-228 mission information: http://www.arianespace.com/mission/ariane-flight-va228/
Arianespace Homepage: http://www.arianespace.com
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/arianespace
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA) LINKS:
European Space Agency (ESA) homepage: http://www.esa.int/ESA
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+EuropeanSpaceAgency
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ESA
SPACEPORT KOUROU, ARIANE 5 DATA LINKS:
Ariane 5 information and data sheets: http://www.arianespace.com/launch-services-ariane5/ariane-5-intro.asp
Ariane 5 User’s Manual: http://www.arianespace.com/launch-services-ariane5/Ariane-5-User’s-Manual.asp
Ariane 5 Brochure: http://www.arianespace.com/launch-services/Flyers/Flyer-Ariane-5-2011.pdf
ESA Ariane 5 vehicle data page: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Launchers/Launch_vehicles/Ariane_5
Ariane 5 ELA-3 launch site: http://www.arianespace.com/spaceport-ariane5/overview.asp
Spaceport French Guiana: http://www.arianespace.com/spaceport-intro/overview.asp