Today the Ariane 5 ECA rocket will be launched from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. The launch window opens on the evening of 12 February at 16:49 (20:49 CET) and will extend until 18:10 (22:10 CET).
Ariane 5 ECA will be able to place heavy payloads of up to 10 tonnes into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) in comparison to the 6-tonne payloads placed into GTO by the Ariane 5 Generic launchers. The increased performance of the Ariane 5 ECA is due to two main differences:
a more powerful Vulcain-2 first stage engine developed from the Ariane 5 generic Vulcain 1 engine
a cryogenic upper stage (ESCA) using the tried and tested Ariane 4 HM7B engine that made over 130 successful launches