This week an Ariane 5 launched from Kourou on the 63rd successful flight in a row.
Flight VA221 delivered two satellites, DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 to geostationary transfer orbit.
It also pushed Arianespace “over the top” for a record combined payload mass orbited from French Guiana in a single year: 74.3 tons.
Speaking in French, Phil Goswitz, DIRECTV’s Senior Vice President – Space Systems & Communications, thanked Arianespace for a “superb launch,” adding that Ariane 5 is “the best and most reliable launcher in the world.”
This week European ministers also approved the development of Ariane 6 in two versions A62 and A64.
A62 will launch medium-sized government/science missions ans has two strap on boosters. A64 will launch the big commercial telecoms satellites, two at a time, and has four boosters. Both have a new upper-stage engine called Vinci.
It builds on the heritage of the Ariane 5, and will be cheaper to produce, making it competitive with new launch vehicles being developed by other nations.
And not to forget the ministers renewed support of ExoMars Rover which is being developed by Airbus Defence and Space and is due for launch to Mars 2018 to look for past or present life. Exciting times to come.
ExoMars test vehicle.