Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Photo Gallery:
Ariane 4 launches Galaxy 11

Posted: December 22, 1999

Arianespace successfully launched PanAmSat's Galaxy 11 communications satellite on December 22. Here is a look back at the launch campaign and mission. Images copyright Arianespace.

Rolling toward launch
The Ariane 4 rocket for Flight 125 is rolled from its assembly building to the ELA-2 launch complex on December 9.
Galaxy 11 readied
The most powerful commercial communications satellite to be launched undergoes final preparations in Kourou. Galaxy 11 is the first Hughes HS702 satellite to fly.
Becoming one
The Galaxy 11 spacecraft enclosed within the protective payload fairing joins the Ariane 4 rocket at the launch pad.
Time to go
The 321-foot tall mobile service gantry is rolled away from the Ariane 4 rocket about six hours prior to liftoff. Once retracted, the rocket's third stage was fueled.
The business end
Flight 125 used an Ariane 44L rocket, the most powerful Ariane 4 vehicle with four liquid-propellant strap on boosters.
For the 125th time in 20 years, an Ariane rocket launches from Kourou, French Guiana. This launch was the 10th of 1999 and third this month.
Tower clear
With the 4 1/2-ton Galaxy 11 satellite aboard, the Ariane 4 rocket leaps from its launch pad to begin the 21 1/2-minute flight.
Soaring into the night
Tracking cameras show the Ariane's initial ascent. Eight liquid-fueled engines firing - the four first stage engines and four strap-on boosters.
Thanks for the boost
Having used all their liquid propellant, the four strap-on boosters are jettisoned from the Ariane to fall into the Atlantic.
Celebrations begin
PanAmSat president Douglas Kahn and Arianespace chief operating officer Jacques Rossignol celebrate in the Jupiter control center. Kahn's T-shirt reads "The Momentum is Growing" in reference to PamAmSat's expansion.
Flight data file
Vehicle: Ariane 44L
Payload: Galaxy 11
Launch date: Dec. 22, 1999
Launch window: 0050-0120 GMT (1950-2020 EST on 21st)
Launch site: ELA-2, Kourou, French Guina

Pre-launch Briefing
Launch timeline - Chart with times and descriptions of the events to occur during launch.

Purpose of Galaxy 11 - The new satellite is the first of seven PanAmSat is preparing to launch, and the first of three to expand cable TV servicesto North America.

The Galaxy 11 satellite - The first HS702 satellite will be the most powerful commercial communications spacecraft ever launched.

Explore the Net
Arianespace - European launch services provider that uses Ariane 4 and 5 rockets to carry satellites into space.

PanAmSat - Leading satellite communications provider and operator of Galaxy 11 once in space.

Hughes Space and Communications - U.S. manufacturer of Galaxy 11 satellite.

Sign up for Astronomy Now's NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed directly to your desktop (free of charge).

Your e-mail address: