Archive photo of an Ariane 5 ECA amidst launch preparations in Kourou, French Guiana. Photo Credit: Arianespace
Arianespace, the French multinational commercial launch provider, is gearing up to loft two communication satellites aboard its workhorse Ariane 5 rocket. Flight VA236 is set to launch from the spaceport in French Guiana in a nearly 3-hour launch window opening at 4:31 p.m. EDT (20:31 GMT) on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
Deploying two large satellites in a single mission is a hallmark capability of the Ariane 5, and Flight VA236 is no different. Though an Ariane 5 launch is, overall, more expensive than their competitors – predominately SpaceX – the Ariane’s ability to loft two heavy payloads on a single flight lowers the per-customer costs to comparable levels.
Coupled with Arianespace’s enviable success record and long history, this rideshare arrangement can be an attractive option for customers and has been employed throughout the vehicle’s nearly 20-year history.
The Ariane 5’s payload fairing, encompassing the SGDC satellite and SYLDA adapter, are lowered over the KOREASAT-7 satellite during integration. Photo Credit: Arianespace
Riding in the top slot of the SYLDA payload adapter is the 12,644-pound (5,735-kilogram) Brazilian Geostationary Satellite for Communications and Defense ...