The last Ariane 5 mission of the year took place on November 26. The Ariane program reaches the milestone of 250 attempts to launch in almost 40 years.
Ariane 5 could not better celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the first Ariane 1 flight, bringing to 250 the number of attempts to launch of the Ariane launch vehicle family since December 24, 1979.
The objective of the VA 250 mission was to place into a geostationary transfer orbit two new telecommunications satellites: TIBA-1, carried on behalf of the Egyptian government and built by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defense and Space, and Inmarsat GX5, also built by Thales Alenia Space for the British operator Inmarsat.
A first launch attempt was scheduled to take place on November 22, but had to be postponed for 24 — then 48 hours — following the discovery of an “anomaly” related to the ground means. Then a capricious weather came to add difficulties: the mission got delayed again, at first for a day, then for 14 minutes.
The lift-off finally took place on November 26 at 21:23, and both satellites were perfectly ejected in their transfer orbit, after 27 minutes of flight for TIBA-1, and 7 minutes later for Inmarsat GX5.
It was the 4th Ariane 5 launch of the year, and the 106th since its entery into service in June 1996.
Eleven more Ariane 5 launches are scheduled between now and 2022, in parallel with the first launches of Ariane 6.