Arianespace marked the resumption of operations at its Guiana Space Center in Kourou with the launch of two communication satellites and a satellite servicer. The deployment was through the Ariane 5 rocket.
The Ariane 5 rocket launched for space at 6 p.m. before releasing the spacecraft into its orbit in 48 minutes. The spacecraft had a malfunctioning sensor resulting in the postponement of the launch for two weeks. Another factor that delayed this launch to August 15 was lousy weather, which rebutted takeoff for 30 minutes.
Ariane 5 rocket launch from the Guiana Space Center is the first after five months due to the coronavirus outbreak. The predecessor mission was in March from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome for OneWeb. OneWeb was launching a constellation before halting it due to bankruptcy filing and the coronavirus pandemic measures.
The announcement by the World Health Organization that coronavirus is a pandemic resulted in a stoppage of operations in the Kourou facility. Since the French government runs the facility via its CNES space agency, they shut down operations in the facility to contain the spread of the virus.
CNES and Arianespace reopened the facility for launch activities so that Ariane 5 and Vega deployments can occur from the Guiana Space Center. The launch visibly sees the resumption of operation of Ariane 5, also known as the VA253 mission. This launch mission is the first in which three spacecraft cumulatively launch into their orbits.
The three spacecraft on this mission was Northrop Grumman’s MEV-2 satellite servicer, Intelsat’s Galaxy-30 communications satellite, and Japan’s Bsat-4b satellite. The separating component for these satellites from the Japan lighter one is SYLDA.
Arianespace chief executive Stéphane Israël stated that these three satellites were aboard the most advanced Ariane 5 rocket. The three satellites have a capacity of 9700 kilograms. The rocket is simply a work of art capable of hosting payloads weighing 10200 kilograms. Arianespace is currently working on the Ariane 6 rocket, which will have a capacity of 11500 kilograms.
Northrop Grumman and Intelsat collaborated to launch MEV-2 and Intelsat 10-02 in their orbits. These two spacecraft will perch in their orbits next year, according to Intelsat’s CEO Stephen Spengler. The MEV-2 servicer will host this Intelsat satellite as it navigates through its geostationary pathway.
Initially, the MEV-1 satellite servicer landed with the Intelsat satellite in a death orbit above the actual satellite geostationary location. The two partners witnessed this furtive experience from which they decided to retract and launch their spacecraft within the geostationary pathway.
Finally, the satellite launched on behalf of Intelsat is part of its relocation efforts from the FCC-procured satellites. Israël added that Arianespace’s upcoming launch would be for the Vega mission hosting 53 small satellites. The postponement of this mission to September from June follows the lousy weather.