Status Report

Ariane Mission Log:Flight 136 – Arianespace meets the challenge once again!

By SpaceRef Editor
November 21, 2000
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Flight 136

Flight 136’s Ariane 44L vehicle clears the umbilical tower on its way to another successful mission. [Photo: Arianespace]

Arianespace scored its second straight success in six days when Flight 136 placed the heavyweight Anik F1 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.

An Ariane 44L – the most powerful version of the workhorse Ariane 4 family – lofted the satellite in a perfect launch that lifted off at the opening of the evening launch window. Anik F1 was the largest single payload carried by an Ariane 4.

Built by Boeing Satellite Systems, the 4,700 kg. Anik F1 uses the new Boeing 702 platform – which is equipped with 48 Ku-band and 36 C-band transponders for the Telesat application. Anik F1 will be positioned at 107.3 deg. West.

Larry Boisvert, Telesat’s president and CEO, thanked Arianespace for “a job very, very well done,” and added that the 59 consecutive successes logged by the Ariane 4 family “is unparalleled in this industry.”

Boisvert said that due to the Anik F1 spacecraft’s size and complexity, it will take about two months of test and checkout before the satellite is to be declared operational in mid January.

Flight 136 was Arianespace’s 11th of the year, and it maintained the rapid-paced mission manifest during the second half of 2000.

Flight 136

The Ariane 44L’s liquid boosters are silhouetted in the flames of their distancing rockets as they are separated at 2 min. 31 sec. into the mission. [Photo: Arianespace]

Tig Krekel, the president of Boeing Satellite Systems, said Arianespace’s back-to-back launches of two heavyweight Boeing 702 satellites in six days on Flight 136 and Flight 136 was a very impressive performance. Speaking in French, Krekel described the Arianespace accomplishment as “absolument formidable!” .

Arianespace Chief Operating Officer Jacques Rossignol confirmed the dates for Ariane’s two following launches, which will close out the activity in 2000. The next mission is Flight 137, set for December 8 using a 44LP version of the Ariane 4 family to carry the Eurasiasat 1 satellite. (The 44LP configuration uses a mix of two solid and two liquid strap-on boosters added to the first stage for augmentation of thrust during liftoff and initial ascent).

This will be followed December 20 by an Ariane 5 mission for Flight 138, which will be fitted with a multiple satellite payload: the GE-8 and Astra 2D telecommunications spacecraft, plus the Japanese LDREX auxiliary payload.

Rossignol said Ariane launch team personnel have demonstrated their capability to meet changing mission scheduling and timing, while continuing to provide quality service. “We must congratulate everyone involved, because from the August 17 to November 21 we performed seven launches – which is equal to one launch every two weeks,” he concluded. “Our teams are doing extraordinary work.”

SpaceRef staff editor.