Yesterday, on 23:21 GMT Ariane 5 rocket lifted payload for the first time on 2016. Under fairing of Ariane, new Intelsat satellite started its travel from launch site ELA-3 in French Guiana to designated orbit.
It was first mission of Ariane 5 this year and also quite specific comparing to other Ariane commercial space flights. Usually payload space of the launch vehicle is filled as much as possible, but this time only payload under Ariane fairing was new Intelsat-29E. It should not be considered as sign of problems of Arianespace with finding customers for join mission with Intelsat. Arianespace wanted to meet demands of Intelsat to launch satellite as soon as posible and was not waiting for other customer to create combined launch. Also due the dimensions of Intelsat-29E it would be hard to put under fairing any other medium satellite. Intelsat was forced to pay more for this mission, but for Arianespace it mean less work for same money.
Arianespace utilized during this mission their most advanced version of Ariane 5 called ECA. It is supported by two P241 solid fueled boosters powered by P241 engine each one. Thrust provided by every booster is at 7080 kN - during 140 seconds of burn they are using 480 t of propellant. First stage is powered by upgraded with longer nozzle Vulcan-2 engine offering thrust at 960 kN. Second stage is powered by HM-7B engine with thrust at 67 kN and fueled with 14 t of cryogenic propellant. Rocket is diameter on whole length at 5.4 m, height at 52 m and mass at 777000 kg.
Ariane 5 ECA started flight at 23:21 GMT supported by two P241 boosters. After 150 seconds of flight boosters were jettisoned and core stage engine continue to work without support. In 3 minute 50 second of flight fairing was jettisoned and after 9 minutes and 15 seconds core stage is shut down. Second stage started engine after separation with first stage and continued flight; first stage felt into Atlantic Ocean close to West Coast of Africa. At 23:47 GMT second stage stopped working and upper stage started to preparing for maneuver of putting Intelsat-29 into parking orbit. Five minutes later Intelsat-29E is starting its mission after successful separation from upper stage of Ariane-5. First signal from Intelsat-29E was received by ground stations at 00:23 GMT. Before becoming fully operational, satellite will go through in-orbit tests which will start three days after planned deployment of solar arrays, on 11th February 2016, and finish on 13th March 2016. After tests, Intelsat-29E will start flight into designation orbit at 310° East and start operating on 24th March.
Intelsat-29E is first from new generation communication and broadcasting satellites operated and possess by Intelsat company (next four were contracted for Boeing in 2013 with first launch of Intelsat-33E planned for 2016). Satellite was designed and manufactured by Boeing with utilization of proven 702MP platform, which was also used for manufacturing three previous satellites for Intelsat (Intelsat-21, Intelsat-22, and Intelsat-27). Satellite will cover with its range South America (12 C band and Ku band transponders), North America, Europe, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and North Atlantic (with 46 Ku band transponders). Global coverage will be possible with 450 MHz Ka band transponders. Satellite is able to provide total throughput with up to 30 Mbit per second. Satellite is powered by two deployable solar arrays and onboard batteries. Satellite has special adaptive power management system which can provide to onboard instruments from 6 kW to 12 kW depending of actual demand. Intelsat-29E will replace Intelsat-1R and Intelsat-805 in Intelsat constellation.