Ariane 5: First liftoff of 2013

The first Ariane 5 heavy-lift mission of the year has delivered the Azerspace/Africasat-1a and Amazonas-3 telecom satellites into their planned transfer orbits. Liftoff of flight VA212 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana came at 21:36 GMT (22:36 CET; 18:36 French Guiana) right at the opening of the launch window. The target injection orbit had a perigee altitude of 246.9 km, an apogee altitude of 35 895 km with an inclination of 6°. Both satellites were accurately injected into their transfer orbits 27 and 36 minutes after launch, respectively.

Amazonas-3 is the first high-power telecom satellite to offer services in Ka-band over Latin America. It will provide telecommunications and broadband connectivity in Europe, as well as America and North Africa, from its geostationary position over 61°W.

Azerspace/Africasat will provide a wide range of telecommunications services for Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa from 46°E.

A video of Ariane 5's 54th liftoff is available on the website of the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

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