Ariane 5 EC-A ready for Thursday launch

MUMBAI: The launch of Arianespace's first increased-lift Ariane 5 has been given the "green light" following the successful readiness review conducted at the Spaceport.

The upgraded version, designated Ariane 5 EC-A, is set for launch during the night of 28-29 November, from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.

Mission team members reviewed the launcher's status, and verified that its dual-satellite payload was ready for the Thursday evening liftoff. The Spaceport's launch infrastructure and down-range tracking stations also were declared ready to support the mission, a company release says.

The launch readiness review cleared the way for tomorrow morning's rollout of the Ariane 5, which will transfer the launcher from its final assembly building to the Spaceport's ELA-3 launch complex.

Flight 157 will mark a milestone in Ariane 5's development. This will be the first mission with an increased-lift version capable of lofting a payload of 10 metric tons to geostationary transfer orbit.

The release says the additional performance further strengthens Arianespace's competitiveness, proving the ability to pair up almost any combination of telecommunications satellites for efficient dual launches.

The launch window for Flight 157 opens Thursday evening at 7:21 pm local time in French Guiana, and continues through 8:04 pm.

After liftoff, the heavy-lift Ariane 5 will release the Eutelsat HOT BIRD 7 TV broadcast satellite at approximately 27 minutes into the flight, followed by the French Stentor telecom demonstrator about nine minutes later.

Proton launch of ASTRA 1K Satellite fails to reach proper orbit:

ASTRA 1K, the fourteenth satellite in the ASTRA series, was unable to reach its proper orbit after the failure of the Proton launch vehicle.

The spacecraft was intended to operate at ASTRA's orbital position of 19.2 East.

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