Spaceflight Insider

Photo Gallery: Ariane 5 launches Star One D1 and JCSAT-15 satellites

On 21 December 2016, Ariane 5 flight VA234 lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites, Star One-D1 and JCSat-15, into their planned orbits. Photo Credit: Jeremy Beck / SpaceFlight Insider

On Dec. 21, 2016, Ariane 5 flight VA234 lifted off from the European Space Agency’s spaceport in French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites, Star One-D1 and JCSat-15, into their planned orbits. Photo Credit: Jeremy Beck / SpaceFlight Insider

KOUROU, French Guiana — Riding a column of flame, Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket launched toward orbit carrying the Star One D1 and JCSAT-15 communications satellites. SpaceFlight Insider was there to photograph the event.

Liftoff took place at 5:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. EST / 20:30 GMT) Dec. 21, 2016, from the ELA-3 launch complex at the Guiana Space Center. The mission, designated VA234, was the culmination of a nearly two-month-long launch campaign, beginning with the Oct. 28 arrival of the JCSAT-15 satellite.

The launch started with the ignition of the rockets cryogenic main stage’s Vulcain engine at T-minus zero. That was followed a seven seconds later by the ignition of the two strap-on solid rocket boosters.

Clearing the pad in about six seconds, the rocket briefly climbed vertically before starting its pitch-over toward the Atlantic Ocean and its designated orbit.

The boosters fired for just over two minutes before detaching, as planned, at about 2 minutes, 22 seconds into the flight. The payload fairing jettisoned just after three minutes into the flight while the main stage continued to fire for about six-and-a-half minutes before it too separated at nearly nine minutes after leaving the pad.

After main stage separation, the upper stage ignited and burned for about 16 minutes. The desired orbit was reached 25 minutes, 23 seconds into flight. The Star One D1 was released first, followed by the detachment of the SYLDA adapter a few minutes later. Finally, JCSAT-15 separated soon after that at 43 minutes, 26 seconds after leaving South America.

The following photo’s were taken by the SpaceFlight Insider Visual Team.

Star One D1 and JCSAT-15 launched atop an Ariane 5 ECA rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, on Dec. 21, 2016. Star One D1 is a communications satellite built by Space Systems Loral for Claro, the largest satellite company of Brazil and Latin America. Part of a five-satellite constellation in geosynchronous orbit, Star One D1 is equipped with C-, Ku-, and Ka-band payloads and will be used for telecommunications, television broadcast, broadband, Internet access, and other services. Star One D1 was the first satellite of Star One's fourth generation and orbits the Equator at 84° West longitude and is designed to deliver service for 15 years or more. JCSAT-15, built for SKY Perfect JSAT is a Japanese telecommunications company. Based on the Space Systems Loral SSL-1300 bus, JCSAT-15 is a follow-on satellite to the N-SAT-110 geosynchronous satellite located at 110° East longitude. The 10-kW satellite will operate in Ku-band and provides video distribution in Japan, and data transfer communications, maritime, and aviation applications in the Indian Ocean Region. The satellite is designed to deliver service for 15 years or more. Photos courtesy: Jeremy Beck

 

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