Saturday , October 24 2020

An Ariane rocket launches for the 250th time — the views were jawdropping, Ars Technica


      Lighting up South America –

             

Arianespace has, or soon will, reach some notable milestones.

      

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                          Two solid rocket boosters provide the majority of thrust off the pad.

                                                            

                                                  Trevor Mahlmann for ESA

                                      

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                          The water deluge system is illuminated by the fire of the engines.

                                                            

                                                  Trevor Mahlmann for ESA

                                      

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                          Two solids and one main Vulcain rocket engine.

                                                            

                                                  Trevor Mahlmann for ESA

                                      

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                          The Ariane 5 rocket creates a pillar of fire.

                                                            

                                                  Trevor Mahlmann for ESA

                                      

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                          The rocket takes off on Tuesday evening.

                                                            

                                                  John Kraus for ESA

                                      

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                          Pushing through some wispy clouds.

                                                            

                                                  John Kraus for ESA

                                      

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                          A wider view of all the smoke.

                                                            

                                                  ESA

                                      

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                          The rocket launches from the midst of a rain forest.

                                                            

                                                  ESA

                                      

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                          Before all the action, here’s the Ariane 5 on the pad.

                                                            

                                                  ESA

                                      

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Last week, an Ariane 5 rocket launched from Europe’s primary spaceport in French Guiana. Normally, such launches garner little attention outside of aerospace circles because they’re typically successful and take place in a pretty remote location — in the jungles of South America.

However, Tuesday’s launch of a pair of communications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit is notable for a couple of reasons. For one, rocket company Arianespace and spaceport operator European Space Agency invited a talented pair of photographers to capture the Ariane 5 launch in exquisite detail. The fruits of the work by Trevor Mahlmann and John Kraus appear in the photo gallery above.

Arianespace also has, or soon will, reached some notable milestones in the history of its launch program. Last Tuesday’s mission marked the 250 th time a member of the Ariane fleet of rockets — there have been five versions, Ariane 1 through 5 — has taken flight. Moreover, on December 24, the Ariane family of rockets will celebrate its 40 th anniversary.

Ariane fête ses 40 ans! Redécouvrez ce lancement historique et suivez, jusqu’au 24 décembre, le récit de cette aventure européenne ***# Ariane 40# WithArianepic.twitter.com/AQuH0o1ByT

– CNES (@CNES)December 1, 2019

The family of rockets should fly yet a while longer. NASA’s extremely valuable James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch on an Ariane 5 rocket in early 2021, making for that rocket’s most high -profile mission.

And as early as the end of 2020, the next-generation Ariane 6 rocket should take flight from French Guiana. Although this rocket is fully expendable, with less expensive components and modern manufacturing processes, itrepresents an effortby the European rocket company to compete with SpaceX and other lower-cost launch vehicles from around the world. Members of the European Space Agency also recently greenlit funding to continue development of the low-cost, potentially reusable Prometheus rocket engine. So we can expect more fire and fury from French Guiana for years to come.

        

Listing image by Trevor Mahlmann for ESA

                                        

                  

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