Ariane 5 Successfully Launches MTG-I1 Satellite For EUMETSAT And Two Galaxy Satellites For Intelsat

ArianeGroup and Arianespace conducted the 115th Ariane 5 launch, its 3rd launch of the year.

On Tuesday, December 13th, 2022 at 05:30 pm local time, an Ariane 5 launcher, operated by Arianespace, successfully lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America), carrying the MTG-I1 meteorological satellite and the Galaxy 35 and Galaxy 36 telecommunication satellites.

The Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) system will help meteorologists meet one of their main challenges – the rapid detection and forecasting of severe weather events – so that timely warnings can be given to citizens, civil authorities and first responders. The data from MTG-I1 (the “I” stands for “Imager”) will have a wide range of uses, from enabling aircraft to avoid storms and earlier alerts of flooding, to more precise monitoring of fires and fog. It will help to protect lives, property and infrastructure and bring economic benefits to Europe and Africa. The MTG satellites are developed and procured in cooperation with the European Space Agency by an industrial consortium led by Thales Alenia Space and OHB. The satellites are developed according to the requirements defined by EUMETSAT after consultation with the users of its meteorological data.

Galaxy 35 and Galaxy 36 are the next satellites in Intelsat’s comprehensive Galaxy fleet refresh plan, a new generation of spacecraft that will provide Intelsat media customers in North America with high-performance media distribution capabilities and unmatched penetration of cable headends. These two satellites will bring C-band contribution capacity to support high-profile events, such as collegiate and professional football, auto racing, baseball, golf, boxing and professional wrestling. The satellites also offer in-orbit protection for select customers in the broadcast arc serving North America.

“With the successful launch of VA259, Arianespace is proud to serve the interests of EUMETSAT and Intelsat, two operators with whom we have been working since 1981 and 1983, respectively”, said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace. “This mission serves both Europe and North America and is a perfect illustration of the versatility of our heavy-lift launcher, which is capable of meeting the needs of both institutional and commercial operators. Its passengers also reflect our own values, which are to make Space work for a better life on Earth, by improving our meteorological knowledge and connectivity.”

“For its last flight of the year, Ariane 5 once again demonstrated its power and competitiveness, achieving a new performance of almost 11 tons to geostationary orbit. It also proved its responsiveness to the needs of Arianespace’s customers, by launching three satellites at once. Only two more Ariane 5 remain to be launched. The teams at ArianeGroup and Arianespace, with the support of ESA and the French space agency CNES, are  preparing together for Ariane 6’s entry into service in autumn 2023”, said André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup.

By delivering 10.972 tons to geostationary orbit, Ariane 5 achieved its second highest performance after the launch of Syracuse A4 and SES-17 in October 2021. The Ariane 5 was adapted for this mission so that it could accommodate three satellites under its fairing. This triple configuration is made possible by a raising cylinder and a long fairing, increasing the space allocated to the satellites by 20m3. This is the third time in its history that Ariane 5 has done a triple launch.

After this mission, just two Ariane 5 launches are left, including the JUICE mission, before Ariane 6 takes up the baton, supporting Europe’s institutional missions and meeting the growing needs of the commercial market.

The Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher is an ESA program carried out in cooperation between public institutions and industry across 12 European partner states. The launches are operated by Arianespace.

ArianeGroup is the lead contractor for the development and production of Ariane 5, as well as being responsible for launcher preparation operations up to lift-off. As prime contractor for Ariane 5 and Ariane 6, in charge of development and production, ArianeGroup is at the head of a vast industrial network of more than 600 companies, including 350 small and medium-size enterprises (SME). ArianeGroup delivers a flightworthy launcher on the launch pad to its subsidiary Arianespace, which sells and operates Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana. During launch campaigns, Arianespace works closely with the French space agency (CNES), which is the design authority for Ariane 5 and is responsible for the satellite preparation facilities and the launch base.

The launch at a glance

345th: Launch operated by Arianespace.

More than 1,140 satellites launched by Arianespace.

3rd: Ariane 5 launch operated by Arianespace in 2022.

This launch was carried out on December 13, 2022 from the European Space Port in Kourou, French Guiana at 05:30 pm local time (08:30 pm UTC).

115th: Ariane 5 launch from the CSG.

10,972 kg: Total payload carried by the launcher for this mission.

89th: consecutive launch with nominal operation of the Vulcain 2 main-stage engine.

115th: consecutive launch with nominal operation of the solid boosters.

155th: consecutive launch with nominal operation of the HM7B upper-stage engine.

About Arianespace

Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited over 1,100 satellites since 1980. Starting in 2022, Arianespace will operate the new-generation Ariane 6 and Vega C launchers, developed by ESA. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore. Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.

About ArianeGroup

ArianeGroup is lead contractor for civil and defense space launcher systems, responsible for the design and the entire production process of Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6, including marketing and operation by its Arianespace subsidiary, as well as for the design, manufacture, and operational condition maintenance of the missiles of the French oceanic deterrent force. Internationally recognized for its innovative, competitive solutions, ArianeGroup has expertise in all aspects of state-of-the-art space propulsion technologies. ArianeGroup and its subsidiaries also offer their specialist skills in space equipment, services, space surveillance, and critical infrastructure to benefit other industrial sectors. ArianeGroup is a joint venture equally owned by Airbus and Safran, and employs around 7,000 highly qualified staff in France and Germany. Group revenues in 2021 amounted to €3.1 billion.

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