Ariane 5 launches after delay

by Chris Bergin

Ariane 5 launched at 9:21am UK time from the ESA Spaceport in French Guiana, as it carries the largest commercial telecommunications satellite ever to be placed in geostationary transfer orbit.

A fault on the launch board at T-15 seconds – a fault that was non-specific was worked on by engineers – moved the count back to T-7 minutes and holding while the problem was being evaluated. A perfect launch followed soon after.

Arianespace set the new launch date after the completion of additional checks and work on components of the launcher.

During this activity, the Ariane 5 Generic vehicle and its THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR) payload have remained in a safe condition inside the Spaceport’s final assembly building, before rolling out to the pad.

The heavyweight THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR) will have a mass at liftoff of more than 6,500 kg. (14,000 lb.). Built by Space Systems/Loral for Shin Satellite, Plc of Thailand, THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR) is to provide enterprises and consumers with various levels of Internet access services throughout Asia, Australia and New Zealand – competing with terrestrial cable modems and digital subscriber lines.

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