Sixth launch for Ariane 5 this year
An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.
Launch of flight VA221 occurred on 6 December at 20:40 GMT (21:40 CET, 17:40 local time).
DirecTV-14, with a mass of about 6300 kg and mounted on top of Ariane's Sylda dual-payload carrier, was the first to be released about 28 minutes into the mission.
Following a series of burns controlled by Ariane's computer, the Sylda structure encasing the 3181 kg GSAT-16 was then jettisoned. GSAT was released into its own transfer orbit about four and a half minutes after the first satellite.
DirecTV-14, owned by DirecTV, will be positioned at 99°W longitude in geostationary orbit to deliver Ultra HD direct-to-home TV across the USA and Puerto Rico. The satellite has a design life of about 15 years.
GSAT-16, owned by the Indian Space Research Organization, will be positioned at 55°E in geostationary orbit to augment communication services across India. It has a design life of 12 years.
The payload mass for this launch was 10 352 kg. The satellites totalled 9481 kg, with payload adapters and carrying structures making up the rest.