Featured image: Arianespace
Lift Off Time/Launch Window
|30 July 2021 – 21:00 UTC | 18:00 GFT|
|Star One D2 & Eutelsat Quantum|
|Eutelsat Quantum: Eutelsat |
Star One D2: Embratel Star One
|Ariane 5 ECA|
|Launch Area 3 (ELA-3), Guiana Space Center, Kourou, French Guiana|
|Eutelsat Quantum: 3,500 kg |
Star One D2: 6,200 kg
Where are the satellites going?
|Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO)|
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
|No, this is not a capability of Arianespace|
Where will the first stage land?
|It will crash into the Atlantic ocean|
Will they be attempting to recover the fairings?
|No, this is not a capability of Arianespace|
Are these fairings new?
How’s the weather looking?
This will be the:
|– 6th Arianespace launch of 2021 |
– 72nd orbital launch attempt of 2021
– 110th Ariane 5 mission
– 284th Arianespace mission
Where to watch
|If available a livestream will be listed here|
What does all this mean?
Arianespace is preparing to launch the Eutelsat Quantum and Star One D2 satellites atop an Ariane 5 ECA rocket on July 30, 2021. The rocket will lift off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana and take the satellites to a geostationary transfer orbit.
What is the Eutelsat Quantum?
The Quantum satellite is the very first reprogrammable commercial telecommunications satellite operating in the Ku band, a high frequency radio range. It was developed under an ESA Partnership Project with manufacturer Airbus and operator Eutelsat, making it the first in a new fleet of fully reconfigurable satellites.
The satellite has in-orbit reprogrammable features making it incredibly flexible as it can repeatedly adjust and respond to changing demands while in orbit. It will be capable of adapting to new commands in coverage, frequency, power usage and will even be able to change its orbital position. Quantum has an expected lifespan of 15 years, and will be joined by another six Eutelsat satellites being launched over the coming three years.
Quantum will be primarily used for data transmission and secure communications. Redirectable beams can be moved in near real time to give information to passengers on moving ships and planes. It will also provide extensive coverage to the Middle East North Africa region.
What is the Star One D2?
The Star One D2 is a communications satellite, and the 7th satellite in the Star One satellite fleet. The first satellite in the fleet, the Star One C1, was launched on 31 August, 2007, also on an Ariane 5 ECA. This is the third satellite in the fleet to be manufactured by SSL, formerly Space Systems/Loral, LLC.
The D2 satellite will be equipped with C-, Ku-, Ka-, and X-band payloads, which will provide highspeed broadband, television broadcast, and telecommunications services across South America, Mexico, Central America, and areas of the Atlantic Ocean. It is based on the GEO communications and remote sensing platform, the SSL 1300 bus. Similarly to Quantum, this satellite is designed to be operational for 15 years.
What is the Ariane 5 ECA?
The Ariane 5 ECA is a European heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by Arianespace for the European Space Agency. Regarded as one of the most reliable launch vehicles in the world, the Ariane 5 has launched 109 times since 1996 with a 95.4% success rate. The rocket flew 82 consecutive missions without failure before suffering a partial failure in January 2018. The Ariane 5 launches from the European Spaceport in French Guiana, a spaceport close to the equator, which allows the rocket to take advantage of the Earth’s greater rotation speed there and boost the launch performance.
The ECA version of the Ariane 5 is capable of launching two large satellites, one on top of the other, using an adapter known as the Système de Lancement Double Ariane (SYLDA). The adapter covers the lower satellite as it supports the higher satellite. When the time comes for satellite deployment, the top satellite is released first, the SYLDA is then jettisoned, and the bottom satellite is released last.
Two P241 solid rocket boosters (SRBs) are attached to the sides of the rockets main stage. They are fueled with a mix of ammonium perchlorate (AP) (68%), aluminium fuel (18%), and Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) (14%). Each booster provides about 7,080 kN (1,590,000 lbf) of thrust, burning for 130 seconds before crashing into the ocean. They are usually left to sink to the bottom of the ocean, but similarly to the Space Shuttles SRB, it is possible to recover them using parachutes. When this is done it is for post-flight analysis, and the boosters are not reusable.
The Ariane 5 has a cryogenic H173 main stage, called the EPC (Étage Principal Cryotechnique — Cryotechnic Main Stage), which burns for 540 seconds. It is comprised of a main tank, which is 30.5 m tall and has two compartments, one compartment for liquid hydrogen (LH2) and the other for liquid oxygen (LOx). A Vulcain 2 engine sits at the base and provides vacuum thrust of 1,390 kN (310,000 lbf).
The ECA has an upper stage called the ESC-A (Étage Supérieur Cryotechnique — Cryogenic Upper Stage), and uses an HM7B engine, which is fuelled by liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOx). The stage provides 67 kN (15,000 lbf) in vaccum, has an ISP of 446 seconds, and will burn for 945 seconds.