For its 100th launch – its fourth of 2018 – Ariane 5 lifted off from the European spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) and placed the two telecommunications satellites Horizons 3e and Azerspace-2/Intelsat38 in GTO.
The performance of this Ariane 5 ECA was 9,940 kg net total mass for the two satellites and 10,827 kg gross mass (including the ACU – payload adaptors, the SYLDA – Ariane dual launch system, and the LVA 3936 – Launch Vehicle Adaptor). Since 2016, the net performance gain for Ariane 5 has increased by 150 kg.
"Launching 10 metric tons into orbit is now normal business for Ariane 5, and this 100th lift-off is an opportunity to celebrate the expertise of the teams at ArianeGroup, Arianespace and all of their industrial partners across Europe, who are working constantly to improve their capabilities and the performance and competitiveness of our launcher, while at the same time preparing the arrival of Ariane 6 in just two years from now. I warmly thank them and the European Space Agency, CNES and all our partners in European space, with whom we celebrate this success. Without the interest and constant support of the political powers in Europe over these two decades, this success would not have been possible," said Alain Charmeau, CEO of ArianeGroup. "During the course of these 100 flights since 1996, Ariane 5 has not only supported the development of the European and global space industry in the field of telecommunications, but has also contributed to exploration and to science. Soon Ariane 6 will take up the torch. Until that time, other impressive missions await Ariane 5, whose next flight is a very important one: BepiColombo which will head for Mercury next month. Ariane 5 has not yet written the final page of its space legend."
As well as the 170 telecommunications satellites placed in geostationary transfer orbit over the past 22 years, Ariane 5 has also launched payloads to numerous different orbits: the second flight of the recoverable ARD capsule; the XMM, Herschel and Planck telescopes; the Rosetta probe; the ENVISAT Earth observation satellite; two HELIOS remote-sensing satellites; five ATV automated freighters to resupply the International Space Station and, more recently, 12 navigation satellites for Europe's Galileo constellation. Ariane 5 thus confirms its reputation as the world's most reliable commercial launcher.
In celebration of this 100th launch, more than 7,000 people around Europe virtually launched Ariane 5 themselves on social media. This successful joint campaign by ArianeGroup, Arianespace, CNES and ESA was launched on July 25 to raise awareness about Ariane 5 among the people of Europe. Finally, the various ArianeGroup sites in France (notably in Kourou) and in Germany, celebrated this 100th launch by sharing memories and future ambitions with their 9,000 employees and all their partners.
As the industrial lead contractor for development and operation of the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers, ArianeGroup coordinates an industrial network of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including more than 350 Small and Medium Enterprises. ArianeGroup oversees all the industrial activities, from the performance improvements and studies necessary for Ariane 5 up to its production, the provision of data or software specific to each mission, without forgetting marketing activities via Arianespace. This chain includes equipment and structures, engines manufacturing, integration of the various stages and finally launcher integration in French Guiana.