A European Ariane 5 rocket will propel two communications satellites from a standstill to a speed of nearly 21,000 mph (9,365 meters per second) in 25 minutes during a launch Friday from French Guiana.
The nearly 180-foot-tall (55-meter) launcher will blast off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 2030 GMT (4:30 p.m. EDT; 5:30 p.m. French Guiana time) on its third flight of the year with the EchoStar 18 and BRIsat communications satellites.
Both made by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California, the spacecraft will ride aboard the Ariane 5 in a dual-payload stack. The larger of the two satellites, EchoStar 18, will deploy first, followed by separation of BRIsat around 42 minutes after liftoff.
The rocket will target an orbit ranging from 155 miles (250 kilometers) to 22,224 miles (35,766 kilometers), with a tilt of 6 degrees to the equator.
Date source: Arianespace
T-0:00:00: Vulcain 2 ignition
T+0:00:07: Solid rocket booster ignition and liftoff
SpaceX’s launch of 51 more Starlink internet satellites Wednesday from California marked the 200th consecutive successful mission for the company’s Falcon rocket family, a record unmatched by any other space launch vehicle.
Engineers working on the James Webb Space Telescope, which had its launch delayed to 2020 earlier this year, recently discovered another problem during testing at the observatory’s prime contractor Northrop Grumman in Southern California.
SpaceX performed a hold-down test-firing Jan. 20 of a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral in preparation for a launch with 60 Starlink broadband satellites, but officials delayed the missions’s planned launch Tuesday due to extreme weather in the downrange recovery zone for the first stage and payload fairing. The next possible launch attempt is expected at 9:49 a.m. EST (1449 GMT) Monday.