(Phys.org)—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.
Payload mass for Ariane's 68th launch was 10 350 kg, including the auxiliary payload adaptors, which is a new record for Ariane 5 GTO missions.
Flight VA212 was Ariane 5's 54th successful launch in a row since December 2002.
Explore further: Ariane 5's third launch of 2011