Blasting into space atop an Ariane 5 launcher, two communications satellites started missions Sunday to beam broadband services to ships, airplanes and offshore oil rigs for a commercial Norwegian operator and relay signals for the Italian and French armed forces.
A Norwegian communications satellite designed to connect far-flung clients and a Franco-Italian military spacecraft blasted off Sunday aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Liftoff from the tropical spaceport occurred at 2000 GMT (4 p.m. EDT).
Rolling out for its first liftoff of the year, an Ariane 5 rocket journeyed out of a launcher assembly building Thursday and rode railroad tracks to its launch pad in French Guiana with two European communications satellites.
Wrapped inside a protective shipping container, Europe’s Sentinel 2A land imaging satellite flew from Germany to French Guiana this week aboard an Antonov transport plane to prepare for launch aboard a Vega rocket in June.
SpaceX engineers have narrowed the cause of last week’s unsuccessful landing of a Falcon 9 rocket booster on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean on a commanding issue with an engine throttle valve, according to Elon Musk, the company’s founder and chief executive.
Returning to port late Thursday under the cover of darkness, SpaceX’s rocket recovery platform has moored at a dock in Jacksonville, Florida, for unloading of charred debris from Tuesday’s crash landing of a Falcon 9 booster.