Ariane 5's second launch of 2015

May 28, 2015, European Space Agency
On 27 May 2015, Ariane 5 flight VA223 lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites, Directv-15 and Sky Mexico-1, into their planned orbits. Credit: ESA

An Ariane 5 lifted off last night from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

The launch of flight VA223 occurred on 27 May at 21:16 GMT (23:16 CEST, 18:16 local time).

Directv-15, with a mass of about 6200 kg and mounted in the upper position atop 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 2960 kg Sky Mexico-1 was then jettisoned. Sky Mexico-1 was released into its own transfer about 10 minutes after the first satellite.

Directv-15, owned and operated by Directv, can operate from up to five different orbital positions between 99°W to 119°W in geostationary orbit. It will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications for HD and 4K UHD direct-to-home TV broadcast services in the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The satellite has a design life of about 15 years.

Sky Mexico-1, owned and operated by Sky Mexico, will be positioned at 78.8°W in to provide high-definition direct TV broadcast services for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. It has a design life of 15 years.

The payload mass for this launch was 10130 kg. The satellites totalled about 9170 kg, with payload adapters and carrying structures making up the rest.

Flight VA223 was the 79th Ariane 5 mission.

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