Launch of an Ariane 5 rocket in January 2020. - jody amiet / AFP

Reprogrammed twice due to technical problems, the launch of Ariane 5 is rescheduled for August 14, Arianespace announced on Tuesday. The rocket will take off from Kourou, in French Guiana, with three satellites on board for the operators Intelsat and B-SAT.

"The progress of operations currently underway at the final assembly building makes it possible to envisage August 14 as the launch date of Ariane Flight n ° 253 (VA253), with a possibility of optimization of one day", indicates Arianespace in a press release.

Based on operations currently underway at the Final Assembly Building, we can envision August 14 as the launch date for # Ariane5 Flight # VA253. There's a possibility for a processing optimization, which could enable mission to be performed one day earlier.

- Stéphane Israël (@arianespaceceo) August 3, 2020

Interrupted at the last moment

The take-off of the European heavy launcher was initially scheduled for July 28 and then postponed to July 31 "in order to carry out additional technical inspections", recalls the satellite launch company.

But on Friday, the launch was interrupted 2 minutes 14 seconds before takeoff "following an abnormal behavior of a probe in the liquid hydrogen tank of the main cryogenic stage". “In the event of a flight on August 14,” take-off will take place between 6:33 pm and 7:20 pm local time. The mission should last approximately 48 minutes from takeoff until the separation of the satellites.

A first for Ariane

The launcher will carry two telecommunications satellites (Galaxy 30 and BSAT-4b) for the benefit of the operators Intelsat and B-SAT and a satellite maintenance vehicle (MEV-2) which will dock with another device already in orbit (Intelsat 10 -02).

“Once docked, it will control the orbit of the client satellite using its own thrusters. After its mission for IS-10-02, MEV-2 will undock and be available for the vehicle of another customer ”, specifies Arianespace, which is the first launch of a satellite maintenance vehicle. Arianespace had already postponed the launch of the European Vega rocket in early July due to particularly unfavorable weather conditions. This shot has been postponed to August 17.


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  • Ariane 5
  • Science
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  • Guyana
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