September 25, 2020

Stunning imagery highlights weekend Ariane 5 launch


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Video credit: CNES

Views from an airliner, close-up high-speed launch pad cameras, and photographers around the Guiana Space Center in the jungle of South America show the twilight launch of a European Ariane 5 rocket Saturday with three commercial satellites heading for orbits more than 22,000 miles over the equator.

The Ariane 5 rocket lifted off at 6:04 p.m. EDT (2204 GMT) Saturday from the European-run spaceport on the northeastern coast of South America. Two powerful solid rocket boosters and a cryogenic core stage engine drove the launcher off the pad with 2.9 million pounds of thrust.

These views show the rocket’s blastoff from spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

One video includes a montage of views from automated cameras around the Ariane 5 launch pad, showing ignition of the launcher’s Vulcain 2 main engine and twin solid rocket boosters, followed by the quick retraction of umbilical connections as the rocket climbed away from the pad. Blast doors swung shut to shield the umbilicals from the fury of the Ariane 5’s exhaust.

Another clip was captured aboard an Air France flight from Cayenne, French Guiana, to Paris, showing the Ariane 5 soaring through cloud layers after lifting off at 7:04 p.m. local time.

Officials also released still images from multiple angles that show the Ariane 5’s evening blastoff, along with throngs of local residents gathered on a nearby beach to view the launch.

The Ariane 5 successfully delivered three U.S.-built satellites into orbit, including Northrop Grumman’s second robotic satellite servicing vehicle, Intelsat’s Galaxy 30 communications satellite, and the Japanese-owned BSAT 4b television broadcasting satellite.

It was the first launch for Arianespace since launch operations at the Guiana Space Center were temporarily suspended earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read our full story on the launch for additional details.

Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin
Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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