Ariane 5 Mission With 4 Galileo Satellites is a ''Go'' for Launch

The latest cluster of four Galileo spacecraft has been cleared for liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana on Arianespace Flight VA240, using an Ariane 5 to loft these latest additions to Europe’s civilian-run satellite navigation constellation.
The payload for Arianespace’s Ariane Flight VA240

The payload arrangement for Flight VA240 is depicted in this cutaway drawing.

Approval for the December 12 mission was provided today following the launch readiness review, which is performed prior to each Arianespace flight. The review validated the heavy-lift vehicle’s “go” status, along with its Galileo spacecraft, the Spaceport’s infrastructure and ground-based tracking resources.

During an afternoon mission that is to depart from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch facility, the Ariane 5 ES version will deploy its four passengers in two pairs – with their releases separated by 20 minutes.
Ariane 5 and the Galileo dispenser from ArianeGroup

The satellites have a liftoff mass of approximately 715 kg. each, and will be injected into a medium Earth orbit (MEO) at an altitude of 22,925 kilometers. To achieve this, the Ariane 5’s storable propellant upper stage will perform two burns during a mission lasting 3 hours and 55 minutes.

As with the workhorse Ariane 5 launcher itself, the multi-passenger dispenser for the four Galileo satellites was developed and built by ArianeGroup. Flight VA240 marks the second time that Arianespace is using the Ariane 5 ES and dispenser system to orbit payloads for Europe’s satellite navigation system, following other flights that employed medium-lift Soyuz vehicles carrying two Galileo spacecraft per mission.

Flight VA240 will close out Arianespace’s 2017 launch activity, which previously involved 10 flights from the Spaceport: five performed with Ariane 5, three utilizing the lightweight Vega and two with the medium-lift Soyuz.

Liftoff time for Flight VA240:

French Guiana

Washington, D.C.

Universal Time (UTC)


At 3:36:07 p.m.
on December 12

At 1:36:07 p.m.
on December 12

At 18:36:07
on December 12

At 7:36:07 p.m.
on December 12

Source: Arianespace
Date: Dec 11, 2017