Ariane lofts two giant satellites

Arianespace’s 5th mission this year successfully launched two communications satellites into orbit from its French Guiana spaceport at 6.18pm local time. The rocket’s two passengers had a total payload of 10,200 kgs including the satellite’s payload dispenser, making the flight one of the heaviest ever. It was also textbook flawless in that the flight achieved its perigree and apogee target locations perfectly, and to within 100 metres.

The two cargoes, SES’ Astra 2F and India’s GSAT-10 craft, will now take a couple of weeks to locate themselves into their final destination, of 28.2 degrees East for Astra, and GSAT-10’s 83 degrees East where it will operate for India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

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