Arianespace will convene an independent inquiry board chaired by a top European Space Agency official to investigate why an Ariane 5 rocket flew off course Thursday night after liftoff from French Guiana with the SES 14 and Al Yah 3 telecom satellites, but both payloads will be salvaged to accomplish their planned missions, officials said Friday.
A European Ariane 5 rocket took off from French Guiana and delivered two commercial communications satellites and a NASA scientific package to orbit Thursday after an unexpected radio blackout raised worries that the mission failed. But questions lingered early Friday about the accuracy of the payload deployments.
A European Ariane 5 rocket delivered two commercial communications satellites to orbit Thursday after Arianespace’s ground team lost telemetry from the launcher during its climb into orbit, raising concerns that the mission might have failed. The SES 14 and Al Yah 3 satellites are confirmed in orbit and healthy, but the parameters of their orbits are unknown. Both were heading toward 22,000-mile-high geostationary perches over the equator.
Unimpeded by rain showers and a dark gray blanket of low clouds, an Ariane 5 rocket thundered away from a European-run space base in the jungle of French Guiana Tuesday to place four Galileo navigation satellites in orbit, an on-target deployment that should improve the location accuracy of new smartphones around the world.
Four European navigation satellites fastened on top of an Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 1836:07 GMT (1:36:07 p.m. EST) Tuesday to propel the Galileo navigation network closer to global service. The Ariane 5’s upper stage delivered the spacecraft to a circular orbit more than 14,000 miles above Earth around four hours after launch.