The next flight of Europe’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket, set for July 28 from French Guiana, will carry a record payload of three multi-ton satellites toward geostationary orbit, including a pair of U.S.-built commercial communications payloads and Northrop Grumman’s second robotic satellite servicing spacecraft.
Launches of interplanetary missions can only depart Earth when the positions of the planets are just right, and officials managing the development of probes set for launch in 2021 and 2022 to explore asteroids and Jupiter says construction milestones and reviews are proceeding to keep the projects on schedule despite the coronavirus pandemic.
A European-built Ariane 5 rocket launched Tuesday with a U.S.-made communications satellite for Tokyo-based Sky Perfect JSAT and a South Korean environmental observatory. The heavy-lift Ariane 5 launcher took off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 5:18 p.m. EST (2218 GMT; 7:18 p.m. French Guiana time).
Arianespace’s first launch of 2020 lifted off at 4:05 p.m. EST (2105 GMT; 6:05 p.m. French Guiana time) Thursday from the Guiana Space Center on the northeastern shore of South America. An Ariane 5 rocket launched the Eutelsat Konnect and GSAT 30 communications satellite for Eutelsat and the Indian Space Research Organization.