Status Report

Mission Log: Flight 139: Ariane’s first dual military telecommunications satellite launch is a complete success

By SpaceRef Editor
February 7, 2001
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Arianespace today performed its first ever dual military satellite launch with the successful Flight 139, which orbited the Skynet 4F and Sicral telecommunications satellites.
Lifting off into a cloudy French Guiana sky, the Ariane 4 vehicle released Italy’s Sicral spacecraft first, followed by the British Skynet 4F satellite.
The launch was delayed by about 37 minutes because of a telemetry problem with the Skynet 4F spacecraft. This difficulty was resolved, allowing the countdown to continue at T-6 minutes, with the Ariane 4 lifting off at 8:05 p.m.
"For the first time in its history, Ariane has orbited two European military communications satellites on a single mission," Arianespace chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Luton said. "This is concrete proof that the Ariane system has met the political and strategic goal set back in 1973, of giving Europe independent access to space."
Tonight’s mission was the 103rd Ariane 4 launch and the 31st using the Ariane 44L configuration. The Ariane 44L is the most powerful version of the Ariane 4 family, with four large liquid strap-on boosters augmenting the thrust at liftoff.

SpaceRef staff editor.