Yesterday Ariane-5 ECA launched successful, making it the world's most powerful commercial launcher. The Ariane-5 ECA is able to launch up to 10-ton payload into space, making it able to launch two large satellites a time.
On this flight, the Ariane 5 ECA launcher carried three payloads. The first released 26 minutes into flight, was XTAR-EUR, a 3600-kg commercial X-band communication satellite flown on behalf of XTAR LLC. This will subsequently use its onboard propulsion system to achieve circular orbit. After an initial period of in-orbit testing, it will be deployed to provide secure communications to government customers.
The other two satellites onboard, the Sloshsat FLEVO minisatellite and the Maqsat B2 instrumented model, stored inside the Sylda dual launch adapter, were flown on behalf of ESA.
Next released, 31 minutes after liftoff, the Sloshsat Facility for Liquid Experimentation and Verification in Orbit is a 129-kg satellite developed for ESA by the Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory (NRL). It will investigate fluid physics in microgravity to understand how propellant-tank sloshing affects spacecraft control. Its mission is planned to last 10 days.
In order to limit the proliferation of space debris, the third passenger, Maqsat B2, will remain attached to the launcher's upper stage. This 3500-kg instrumented model was designed to simulate the dynamic behaviour of a commercial satellite inside the Ariane 5 payload fairing. An autonomous telemetry system transmitted data on the payload environment during all the flight phases, from liftoff to in-orbit injection. Fitted with a set of cameras, Maqsat B2 also provided dramatic onboard views of several key flight phases, including separation of the solid boosters and jettisoning of the Sylda upper-half payload. Source: ESA.