|Arianespace aims for busy second half of 2018
Europe’s first mission to Mercury, a quartet of Galileo navigation spacecraft, a global winds observatory, and a new European weather satellite have arrived at an equatorial launch base in French Guiana in preparation for launches in the coming months.
The set of European missions are set to ride into space aboard four rockets, amid several more commercial flights carrying communications satellites to orbit, in what is shaping up to be a busy second half of the year for Arianespace, the French company which oversees Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launch operations at the European-run spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The rapid-fire launch campaigns are already underway at the space center on the northeastern coast of South America, where technicians are preparing rocket and satellite hardware for liftoff.
100th Ariane 5 launch scheduled for September
Another Ariane 5 launch is targeted for Sept. 5 around 2120 GMT (5:20 p.m. EDT; 6:20 p.m. French Guiana time) with the U.S.-built Horizons 3e and Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 commercial communications satellites.
The milestone mission, designated VA243, will be the 100th launch of an Ariane 5 rocket since Europe’s workhorse launch vehicle debuted in 1996.