Launch of Ariane 5 carrying EchoStar 18 and BRIsat delayed till June 16
The launch of an Ariane 5 rocket on mission designation VA230 was delayed from Wednesday, June 8, to Thursday, June 16, due to an anomaly that occurred with a fluid connector between the cryogenic upper stage and the launch table during the rollout to the launch pad. Arianespace is currently working on replacing the component that caused the problem.
The upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket is composed of the Etage Superieur Cryotechnique (ESC)—Cryogenic Upper Stage—which is powered by an Aestus rocket engine that is capable of being restarted.
The upper stage also houses the Vehicle Equipment Bay (VEB) which carries the EchoStar 18 and BRIsat in the Système de Lancement Double Ariane (SYLDA) payload carrier. The rocket and satellites are currently in standby mode while the required maintenance takes place.
The new launch date has been set for June 16 with a launch window extending between 5:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. local time in French Guiana (4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT).
EchoStar 18 and BRIsat were built by Space Systems Loral (SSL) in California and are based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform. The EchoStar 18 is being launched to augment Dish Network’s existing satellite fleet and replace EchoStar 10, providing Direct Broadcast Services (DBS) for customers in the contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
BRIsat is the first communications satellite in the world owned and exclusively operated by a financial institution, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI). It will provide enhanced secure banking communications for more than 10,600 operational branches of BRI, as well as to some 237,000 electronic channel outlets and nearly 53 million customers across the Indonesian archipelago.
This launch will be the third mission in what should be a busy year for Arianespace as the company sets a new objective of 12 launches, including as many as eight by the Ariane 5. The next Ariane 5 flight, designated VA231, is scheduled to ferry the DSN-1 and GSAT-18 satellites to orbit.
College student and long time space enthusiast, Jose has been a constant visitor to Cape Canaveral since he moved to central Florida. He joined the SFI team in the hopes of becoming more involved in the coverage of spaceflight and space exploration.