Two European-made communications satellites destined to serve the Brazilian government and commercial customers across Asia are set to ride an Ariane 5 rocket into orbit Thursday.
Standing nearly 180 feet (55 meters) tall, the Ariane 5 is scheduled to lift off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 2031 GMT (4:31 p.m. EDT; 5:31 p.m. French Guiana time) Thursday. The launch will mark the 92nd Ariane 5 flight since 1996, and the launcher’s second mission this year.
The Brazilian-owned SGDC satellite, weighing around 12,643 pounds (5,735 kilograms) at launch, is the heavier of the two spacecraft aboard the Ariane 5 rocket. Koreasat 7 weighs 8,113 pounds (3,680 kilograms) with its propellant tanks full.
The rocket will target an orbit ranging from 155 miles (250 kilometers) to 22,323 miles (35,926 kilometers), with a tilt of 4 degrees to the equator.
SpaceX’s next launch from Cape Canaveral is set for Feb. 24, when a Falcon 9 rocket will carry a commercial television broadcasting satellite aloft for Luxembourg-based SES, the payload’s owner announced Monday.
Gearing up for the third Falcon 9 launch in less than two-and-a-half weeks, SpaceX fired up a rocket booster at Cape Canaveral on Thursday ahead of an early morning launch Tuesday with an Indonesian communications satellite.
A European Ariane 5 rocket climbed off its launch pad in French Guiana with nearly 3 million pounds of thrust Thursday, carrying two communications satellites to orbit for the Japanese military and British-based Avanti Communications.