Check out photos of Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher in the starting blocks at its tropical spaceport awaiting liftoff with two commercial television relay stations.
The launch from French Guiana is set for Thursday at 2010 GMT (4:10 p.m. EDT) carrying satellites into orbit for Eutelsat and Intelsat. It will be the 81st flight of an Ariane 5 rocket dating back to 1996.
Launch crews rolled out a nearly 180-foot-tall Ariane 5 rocket to its launch pad Monday in a final major step before liftoff with the Arabsat 6B and GSAT 15 communications satellites to broadcast television, broadband and other telecom services across Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and India.
A Soyuz rocket carrying a military spy satellite for the United Arab Emirates lifted off from French Guiana at 8:33 p.m. EST Tuesday (0133 GMT Wednesday). A launch attempt Sunday night was scrubbed due to the risk of lightning, and a countdown Monday was called off due to a telemetry issue associated with the range safety system at the Guiana Space Center.
The first Ariane 5 launch since a mission flew off course Jan. 25, deploying two communications satellites into an off-target orbit, is underway. Liftoff with the DSN 1/Superbird 8 and Hylas 4 communications satellites occurred on time at 2134 GMT (5:34 p.m. EDT).