June 20, 2021

Video: Ariane 5 makes a smooth blastoff before mission runs into trouble


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A 180-foot-tall (55-meter) Ariane 5 rocket climbed into space from French Guiana on Thursday evening, but the mission ran into problems a few minutes later.

The launch was supposed to deliver the SES 14 and Al Yah 3 communications satellites into a supersynchronous transfer orbit arcing as high as 28,000 miles (45,000 kilometers) above Earth. The SES 14 telecom satellite also carried a $53 million payload named GOLD for NASA, a science package designed to study the upper atmosphere and space weather.

Arianespace later confirmed both satellites were in orbit after a radio outage kept ground teams in the blind during the Ariane 5’s climb to space. The exact orbit reached by the Ariane 5 was still unclear late Thursday.


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