An Ariane 5 rocket will launch two communications satellites into orbit from a South American spaceport tonight (Oct. 23) after a one-day delay and you can watch the liftoff live online.
The French launch provider Arianespace will launch the Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana tonight during a 2.5-hour window that opens at 9:01 p.m. EDT (10:01 p.m. local time in Kourou or 0101 GMT Sunday, Oct. 24). The launch will come after a 24-hour delay to allow more time for ground systems checks.
In a statement early this morning, Arianespace representatives said an investigation into the ground equipment had been completed and that the “anomaly” that thwarted Friday’s planned launch “had been identified and corrected,” clearing the way for tonight’s new launch attempt. The mission will launch the SES-17 communications satellite for the Luxembourg-based telecommunications provider SES an the Syracuse 4A military communications satellite for the French Ministry of Defense.
“The Ariane launch vehicle and spacecraft SES-17 and Syracuse 4A are in stable and safe conditions on the launch pad,” Arianespace representatives wrote in the statement.
Built by Thales Alenia Space, the SES-17 communications satellite is a high-throughput communications satellite designed to serve SES customers in North America, South America, and across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean with high-speed Ka-band communications coverage from a geosynchronous orbit.
“It will address demands for high-speed and flexible data connectivity across aviation, maritime, enterprise and government segments, advancing the region’s digitalisation objectives and helping to bridge the digital divide,” SES officials wrote in a statement last month.
The satellite carries 200 spot beams whose power levels can be tailored to meet customer needs and is the first SES satellite to carry a completely digital payload powered by a Digital Transparent Processor, according to an Arianespace mission overview.
“The Thales Alenia Space’s 5th generation Digital Transparent Processor (DTP) embarked on SES-17 allows for easy frequency conversions as well as unlimited gateway switching and traffic routing,” Arianespace wrote in the overview. “Combined to flexible amplifiers, it will meet customer’s changing requirements and real time traffic demands.”
The Syracuse 4A is also built by French satellite builder Thales Alenia Space and is designed to serve as a communications link between all of France’s armed forces and was commissioned by the country’s Armament General Directorate.
“At sea, in the air or on the ground, militaries need secured and powerful communication means in order to be able to exchange information with the command center,” Arianespace wrote in its mission description. “Thanks to its state-of-the-art equipment (anti-jamming antenna and digital transparent processor on board), Syracuse 4A will guarantee a high resistance to extreme jamming methods.”
Syracuse 4A is expected to be joined by two other satellites in the future to create a military communications satellite constellation that can link the country’s naval vessels, armored vehicles and aircraft.
“Syracuse 4A will connect most naval vessels, moving armored vehicles or aircraft: in particular Griffon armored vehicles, upcoming Suffren attack submarines or the tanker Phoenix,” Arianespace officials wrote.