Headlines > News > LIVE COVERAGE: Ariane 5 W2M / HOT BIRD 9 Launch (updated 23:06 GMT)

LIVE COVERAGE: Ariane 5 W2M / HOT BIRD 9 Launch (updated 23:06 GMT)

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:29 pm
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23:06 GMT (6:06 pm EST): Successful separation of W2M. Another successful Ariane launch came to its end.

23:05 GMT (6:05 pm EST): Separation of the Sylda 5 payload structure in order to free the underlying W2M satellite.

23:02 GMT (6:02 pm EST): The HOT BIRD 9 satellite has been separated.

23:00 GMT (6:00 pm EST): Shut-down of the upper stage. The next step is separation of the satellites and the payload structure Sylda 5.

22:44 GMT (5:44 pm EST): Main engine cutoff and separation of the first stage. The second cryogenic stage ignited. The ESC-A upper stage with its HM-7B engine will now burn for almost 16 minutes.

22:38 GMT (5:38 pm EST): The payload fairing is jettisoned. As the rocket reached over 100 kilometers altitude and left the dense atmosphere, this cover is no longer needed.

22:37 GMT (5:37 pm EST): The two solid rocket boosters have been jettisoned after 140 seconds. The main stage continues to push the rocket skywards.

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22:35 GMT (5:35 pm EST): Liftoff of the Ariane 5 ECA rocket carrying W2M and HOT BIRD 9.

22:34 GMT (5:34 pm EST): T-1. Switched to onboard power. Everything is ready for the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket. The Vulcain main engine will be ignited 7 seconds before the boosters to ensure proper operation.

22:31 GMT (5:31 pm EST): T-4. The tanks are pressurised for flight.

22:27 GMT (5:27 pm EST): The countdown is resumed at T-7 minutes.

22:11 GMT (5:11 pm EST): A valve in the hydrogen tank of the first stage shows wrong readings.

21:52 GMT (4:52 pm EST): The red was called because of the launch base. The countdown is recycled to T-7 minutes, the beginning of the synchronized sequence.

21:51 GMT (4:51 pm EST): Liftoff of the Ariane 5 ECA cancelled at T-10 seconds.

21:50 GMT (4:50 pm EST): T-1. Switched to onboard power. Everything is ready for the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket. The Vulcain main engine will be ignited 7 seconds before the boosters to ensure proper operation.

21:47 GMT (4:47 pm EST): T-4. The tanks are pressurised for flight.

21:44 GMT (4:44 pm EST): T-7. The so-called synchronized sequence is started. This sequence runs completely automated. If a problem occurs the countdown has to be reset to the start of the automated sequence.

21:36 GMT (4:36 pm EST): 15 minutes remaining until the launch. Everything is currently on go.

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20:51 GMT (3:51 pm EST): The clock says one hour until launch. The weather looks fine for launch.

17:01 GMT (12:01 pm EST): The fueling for the Ariane 5 main stage has begun. The stage is powered by the Vulcain engine feeded by liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2). Today’s launch will be the 42nd for Ariane 5 and the 186th for the Ariane family. We are under 5 hours from the launch now.

December 19, 2008: The Ariane 5 ECA rocket with its W2M and HOT BIRD 9 payload is ready for the launch tomorrow. It was rolled out to the launch pad this afternoon.

The payload consists of two satellites weighing a total of 8,340 kilograms:
W2M will deliver a wide range of services, including TV broadcasting, data network feeds and broadband access. In addition to a fixed beam coverage of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, the satellite’s steerable beam will be oriented to serve islands in the Indian Ocean. It is based on the ISRO 1-3K platform of EADS Astrium and ISRO and has 32 Ku-band transponders. It weighs about 3,460 kilograms.

HOT BIRD 9, built on the EUROSTAR 3000 platform by EADS Astrium, will transmit television programs to cable and satellite households in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The satellite carries a total of 64 Ku-band transponders and weighs about 4,880 kilograms.

The Ariane 5 will fly in its ECA version with the cryogenic upper stage ESC-A powered by the HM-7B engine. It uses the Sylda dual payload structure.

The launch window opens at 21:51 GMT (4:51 pm EST) for 59 minutes on December 20.

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