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 launched its first mission of the year Monday at 9:19 p.m. EST (0219 GMT Tuesday), when a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral with SpaceX’s third batch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites.
A Soyuz rocket lifted off Friday from a jungle spaceport in South America with two satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation network. The four-hour launch sequence began with blastoff at 2146 GMT (5:46 p.m. EDT).