Feeds

Ariane 5 launches; doesn't explode

Enormous rocket fires up Hot Bird

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Ariane 5 rocket, the Shire horse of space freight, has blasted off from French Guiana carrying two communications satellites.

Originally pencilled in for 21 February, technical problems with ground support equipment, the payload, and the upper stage of the launcher forestalled the beast's fourth launch three times.

Lift-off finally occured at 22:32GMT on Saturday. The payload comprised a 3.7 tonne secure Spanish defence satellite, and Hot Bird; a promising-sounding, but actually stroke-inducingly mundane 4.1 tonne high-definition broadcast satellite.

Ariane 5 can shift payloads of up to 9.6 tonnes. It released SPAINSAT and Hot Bird into geostationary orbit over Europe five minutes apart.

The beefy rocket is the cornerstone of the European space programme, and a money-maker for the ESA. With Boeing's goliath 14 tonne-capable Delta 4-Heavy earmarked for defence ops, Ariane has the commercial heavy-lifting market to itself.

The unmanned Ariane 5 launches have always made for noteworthy events thanks to the double-header of the gut-wrenching power of the rocket and the extra spice added by the ever-present threat of it exploding at any second. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.