Press Release

Arianespace Flight 145: A landmark double success for Europe

By SpaceRef Editor
February 28, 2002
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Kourou, French Guiana, February 28, 2002 — Arianespace today
successfully orbited the largest satellite ever built by Europe, using
an Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher to place the Envisat platform into
Sun-synchronous orbit.

The 11th Ariane 5

With this latest successful launch, Ariane 5 has confirmed its
technical and operational maturity. Ariane 5 is the only operational
launch system capable today of carrying such large, heavy satellites
into any type of orbit.

“The success of our eleventh Ariane 5 launch shows this launcher is
fully operational,” said Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Marie
Luton. “The very capable Ariane 5 gives us an even bigger lead over
our competitors.”

For today’s mission, Ariane 5 was equipped with a 17-meter-long
version of the launcher’s payload fairing. This flight set new records
for payload weight (8,200 kg.) and for the height of a satellite (10
meters) installed under the fairing in Kourou.

Envisat is the 24th European Space Agency satellite launched on an
Ariane. Arianespace’s current launch manifest includes nine ATV
(Automated Transfer Vehicle) missions for International Space Station
servicing on behalf of the European Space Agency, as well as a major
new scientific mission: Rosetta, a solar system exploration
spacecraft.

Arianespace’s upcoming launch

After this third successful launch of the year, Arianespace’s next
mission is slated for the second half of March. An Ariane 44L will
boost two communications satellites into orbit: JCSAT-8 for the
Japanese operator JSAT Corporation, and Astra 3A of Boeing Satellite
Systems for Luxembourg-based operator SES.

Following today’s Ariane 5 mission, Arianespace’s backlog now stands
at 39 satellites to be launched, plus 9 ATV missions for the
International Space Station.

Flight 145 at a glance

Arianespace Flight 145 was carried out by an Ariane 5 from Europe’s
Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on February 28, 2002
at 10:07 pm local time in Kourou (8:07 p.m. in Washington, DC, and on
March 1 at 01H07 Universal Time, and 2:07 a.m. in Paris).

Ariane 5’s first launch into Sun-synchronous orbit

Provisional parameters at injection of the storable propellant upper
stage were:

Altitude: 7,152.4 km for a target of 7,152.4 km (± 7.5 km) (semi-major
axis)

Orbital position: 69.8 degrees for a target of 70.3 degrees (±1.9¡)

Inclination: 98.5 degrees for a target of 98.5 degrees (±01.1¡)

The Envisat satellite

Envisat is the most powerful satellite ever built by the European
Space Agency to monitor the Earth’s environment and the impact of
human activities on the planet. Day after day, Envisat will transmit
an unprecedented stream of environmental data. The data will be
combined with information from Europe’s ERS-1 and ERS-2 remote sending
satellites, enabling scientists and researchers to follow the
evolution of environmental phenomena over more than a decade.

A European consortium of 50 companies led by Astrium was responsible
for the production of Envisat. Weighing more than 8,200 kg. at launch,
it will be positioned at an altitude of 800 kilometers, with each
orbit around the Earth taking 100 minutes. For most instruments, the
satellite will provide global coverage every three days, with exact
revisit coverage every 35 days.

Envisat is the 50th Astrium-built satellite to be orbited by the
European Ariane launcher. Ground equipment for Envisat was built by a
consortium of 20 companies led by Alcatel Space.

SpaceRef staff editor.