PARIS, July 26 (RIA Novosti) - An Ariane-5 carrier rocket deployed two satellites on Friday, including Europe’s largest telecommunications satellite ever manufactured, the European Space Agency said on its website.
The blastoff took place at the European space center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 23:54 Moscow time [7:54 p.m. GMT] on Thursday.
The Ariane 5 ECA (Cryogenic Evolution type A) - the most powerful version in the Ariane 5 range - was used for this flight, NASAspaceflight.com said. The rocket is designed to place payloads weighing up to 9.6 metric tons into the geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
The launcher had Europe’s Alphasat satellite installed in the upper position of its payload “stack.” Alphasat is Europe’s largest and most sophisticated telecommunications satellite ever manufactured and was designed in a public-private partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and UK-based satellite operator Inmarsat. It has a lifetime of 15 years and its solar wings span 40 meters (131 feet).
The rocket’s lower passenger was India’s INSAT-3D meteorological satellite. Once fueled, INSAT-3D had an estimated lift-off mass of 2,090 kg. It features eight new-generation digital signal processors and an 11-meter antenna reflector and has an estimated service life of seven years.
Alphasat separated 28 minutes into the flight, INSAT-3D separated five minutes later.