Feeds

Ariane 5 launches; doesn't explode

Enormous rocket fires up Hot Bird

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.