Ariane 5 ECA: record payload into geo-transfer orbit

May 30, 2006

Paris, 29 May 2006

On the evening of May, an Ariane 5 ECA launcher lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two telecommunications satellites into geostationary transfer orbit. Lift-off took place at 18:09 French Guiana time (21:09 GMT/UTC, 23:09 CEST/Paris). The 50.5-metre tall launch vehicle was carrying the Satmex 6 telecommunications satellite for the Mexican operator Satelites Mexicanos SA de CV and the Thaicom 5 telecommunications satellite for Thailand's Shin Satellite Public Company Limited. With a combined mass of around 8300 kg, the two satellites set a record for the largest payload mass carried into geostationary transfer orbit. The upper stage cryogenic engine was shut down 24m51s after lift-off. By this time the launch vehicle upper composite had attained a velocity of approximately 9400 metres per second (almost 33 900 km/h) and the conditions for geostationary transfer orbit injection had been achieved. Satmex 6 was the first satellite to separate, followed by Thaicom 5. Injection into the target geostationary transfer orbit for the two spacecrafts was achieved with very high precision.

European Space Agency
http:///www.esa.int/export/esaCP/index.ht ml
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