July 26, 2021

Fuselage section of Ariane 5 launch vehicle found on Grand Cayman during beach clean-up

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During the Dart Green Team beach cleanup last Saturday (10), member Dominic Ross discovered part of what he thought was an aircraft fuselage that had been washed up onto the sand at Barkers. West Bay.

Upon further investigation from the markings it turned ot that the pieces of fuselage were in fact from the European Ariane 5 rocket launch vehicle.

We thank one of Darts’s Managers, Chip Olgivie, for the photographs he took and sent us.

The cleanup was cosponsored with Plastic Free Cayman and anyone interesting in helping this group can reach them at [email protected]

According to Wikipedia:

Ariane 5 is a European heavy-lift launch vehicle that is part of the Ariane rocket family, an expendable launch system used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) or low Earth orbit (LEO).

Ariane 5 rockets are manufactured under the authority of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French spatial agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales. Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for the vehicles, leading a consortium of other European contractors.

Ariane 5 is operated and marketed by Arianespace as part of the Ariane programme. The rockets are launched by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

Arianespace’s Ariane 5 is the world reference for heavy-lift launchers, able to carry payloads weighing more than 10 metric tons to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) and over 20 metric tons into low-Earth orbit (LEO) – with a high degree of accuracy mission after mission. This performance ensures that Ariane 5 will be able to loft the heaviest spacecraft either in production or on the drawing boards, and enables Arianespace to match up most telecommunications satellites for highly efficient dual launches – a capability that has been proven by the company in Ariane-series missions since the 1980s.


Ariane 5 Rocket Lofts 2 Satellites on Milestone 100th Launch

From Space.com

Europe’s workhorse Ariane 5 rocket aced its 100th launch tonight (Sept. 25), carrying two telecommunications satellites to orbit in a drama-filled liftoff.

An undisclosed issue brought the countdown clock to a halt 94 seconds before the targeted launch time of 5:53 p.m. EDT (2153 GMT; 6:53 p.m. local time at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana). The webcast of the French company Arianespace, which boasted more than 3,000 viewers at that point, suddenly went silent as a scrolling banner relayed that the launch was on hold.

Few updates followed for the next 45 minutes. But at the end of tonight’s launch window — 6:38 p.m. EDT (2238 pm GMT; 7:38 p.m. local time) — the Ariane 5 rose into the dark sky, lighting up banks of clouds shrouding the humid launch pad. [The Most Exciting Space Missions to Watch in 2018]

The rocket sped into space, first deploying one satellite and then the other. Arianespace mission control at the Guiana Space Center erupted in applause as the second spacecraft successfully deployed around 7:20 p.m. EDT (2320 GMT; 8:20 p.m. local time).

“The heavyweight launcher has once more performed flawlessly. Congratulations to all,” Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said in a speech broadcast on the Arianespace YouTube channel minutes after the second satellite deployment.

Israël gave a special thanks to the longstanding customers of Arianespace; the company has launched more than 200 satellites using the Ariane 5 alone.

“Ariane 5 is known for delivering, and we are very appreciative of another flawless launch,” Ken Lee, senior vice president of space systems for the satellite communications company Intelsat, said after Israël’s speech. He joked that the launch did not go exactly as planned, but it was “flawless nonetheless.”

Intelsat is a joint venture partner in both of the spacecraft that launched toward geostationary orbit this evening. These satellites are called Horizons 3e and Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38.

Both spacecraft are expected to improve communications for consumer, corporate and government customers. Horizons 3e (in partnership with Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Group) is intended to improve broadband coverage in the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 (in partnership with Azerbaijan’s Azercosmos) will host direct-to-home television programs in the Asia-Pacific area, as well as parts of Africa and central and eastern Europe.

Though the first Ariane 5 test flight in 1996 failed spectacularly, the rocket line quickly became known for its reliability (98.1 percent success rate heading into tonight’s launch) and payload capacity (the ability to carry 20 tons to low Earth orbit). The rocket is therefore an attractive option for customers with heavy telecommunications satellites.

The Ariane 5 has five operational versions; the variant that launched tonight, called Ariane 5 ECA, has now flown 67 times.

The Ariane 5 has notable competitors, such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V vehicle.

Arianespace is expecting to debut a successor rocket called Ariane 6 around 2020. One of the major goals of the new rocket will be to significantly reduce the cost of launch services, according to the European Space Agency. In 2014, a typical Ariane 5 launch cost roughly $137 million, according to a SpaceNews report.

IMAGE: An Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket launches on its 100th mission, lifting off Sept. 25, 2018, from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Credit: Arianespace


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