Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UPDATED 4/22/11: Where will you be at 5:45 EDT on 3/30/11?

OK! Arianespace is going to try again today, April 22, 2011 to launch the Yahsat YA 1 and Intelsat New Dawn communications satellites.

The Ariane 5 stack has been rolled out to the pad for the opening of the launch window at 5:37 PM EDT.

You can watch the launch live at: Arianespace - Current Mission Launch Coverage Site

Below you will find the original post about the launch, the payload, and the launch vehicle. You will also find the video of the first launch attempt which resulted in a main engine ignition followed by a shutdown and vehicle safing due to error readings during thrust build up. The stack was rolled back to the Final Assembly Building until today's launch attempt.

I hope to live tweet today at:   

If so, I will use the hash tag: #Ariane5

Thanks for reading,


Well, you may already know this, if not here it is.

The Ariane 5, carrying the Yahsat YA1 and Intelsat New Dawn telecommunications satellites, had an anomaly. The main engine fired at T-0, but at some point in the 7 second "checkout" phase, the computers commanded the SRB's to NOT fire. Fortunately, the vehicle stayed on the pad and was "safed" according the procedures. Arianespace announced the launcher and satellite stack would be rolled back to the Final Assembly Building to be checked out and returned to flight-ready condition.

Here is the link to the Arianespace Press Release.

If you missed the live broadcasts here are two videos:

Arianespace will provide a new launch date as soon as possible.


Good Morning/Afternoon!

Today (as of 11:45 AM EDT) Arianespace is scheduled to launch an Ariane 5 with two satellites, one to service the UAE and the other for Africa.

Information/Content Credit: At the bottom of the post you will find links (other than the embedded ones) to the sites I pulled the content from. You will also find the link to the launch coverage site from Arianespace.

Why you should watch this launch:
  • Arianespace's launch coverage is EXCELLENT.
  • The Ariane 5 is interesting to watch. When the countdown hits zero, the main engine ignites and runs for 7 seconds, completing self-checks & thrust build-up, then the solid rocket motors ignite. At that point the Ariane 5 is heading up! This is a very cool sequence to watch and they have great video coverage of it.
  • ATK and Astrium (the developer and manufacturer of the Ariane 5) have teamed up to enter the "new" commercial space race with the Liberty Launch Vehicle for the NASA CCDev-2 competition. I think we need to pay more attention to Arianespace, Astrium, and ESA as they will be players in the "new" industry.
Subject: Ariane 5 Rollout
Photo Credit: ESA (?)
Launch Facts:
  • Date: March 30th, 2011
  • Launch Window: 9:45 PM-10:52 PM GMT / 5:45 PM-6:52 PM EDT
  • Launch Site: ELA-3 Launch Complex in French Guiana
  • Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5 (with a Core Booster powered by a Vulcain main engine and 2 SRM's)
  • Payload: 2 Satelittes stacked on top of a cryogenic upper stage.
    • Satellite #1:
      • Spacecraft: Yahsat Y1A
      • Customer: AL YAH Satellite Communications Company
      • Prime Contractor: Astrium & Thales Alenia
      • Mission: Telecommunications
      • Platform & Payload: Eurostar E3000 with 25 Ku-band & 14 C-band transponders
      • Expected Life: 15 years
      • Coverage Area: Middle East, Africa, Europe, and South West Asia
    • Satellite #2:
      • Spacecraft: Intelsat New Dawn
      • Customer: Intelsat
      • Prime Contractor: Orbital Sciences Corporation
      • Mission: Telecommunications
      • Platform & Payload: Star-2 with 24 Ku-band & 28 C-band transponders
      • Expected Life: 15 years (minimum)
      • Coverage Area: Africa
Subject: Ariane 5 Launch
Photo Credit: ESA (?)
Subject: Ariane 5 Launch
Photo Credit: Unknown

Launch Sequence Events (highlights only):
  • 11 hrs 30 mins 00 secs - Start of final countdown
  • 04 hrs 50 mins 00 secs - Start of filling of the main cryo stage with liquid oxygen and hydrogen
  • 03 hrs 20 mins 00 secs - Start the chilldown of the Vulcain main engine stage
  • 01 hrs 10 mins 00 secs - Check all connections between launcher, telemetry, tracking, and command systems
  • 00 hrs 07 mins 00 secs - "All systems go" report. Start of the synchronized sequence.
    • This is where the computers take over the launch. It's similar to the Space Shuttle's launch sequence that starts at T-9 mins with the Ground Sequencer start, followed by what I think is the best part of a Shuttle launch sequence announcement: "T-16 seconds, we are GO for auto-sequence start" which means, unless the computers detect a problem, they are going to hit the GO button and the Shuttle is heading upward on 7.5 millions lbs of the thrust for the 8.5 minute commute to space!
  • 00 hrs 04 mins 00 secs - Tanks are pressurized for flight
  • 00 hrs 01 mins 00 secs - Switch to onboard power
  • 00 hrs 00 mins 03 secs - Unlock guidance systems to flight mode
  • 00 hrs 00 mins 00 secs - Ignition of the main engine for health checks and thrust build-up
  • + 00 hrs 00 mins 07 secs - Solid Boosters Ignition & LIFTOFF
  • + 00 hrs 00 mins 17 secs - Begin roll maneuver
  • + 00 hrs 02 mins 20 secs - Solid Booster jettison
  • + 00 hrs 03 mins 11 secs - Fairing separation
  • + 00 hrs 08 mins 53 secs - Separation of main cryo stage
  • + 00 hrs 09 mins 03 secs - Ignition of the upper cryo stage
  • + 00 hrs 27 mins 27 secs - Separation of the Yahsat Y1A
  • + 00 hrs 35 mins 03 secs - Separation of the Intelsat New Dawn
  • + 00 hrs 46 mins 03 secs - End of Arianespace Flight Mission

Links and Resources:


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