Watch the Ariane 5 rocket make its final flight live

Nearly three decades later, it delivered precious payloads into spaceThe Ariane 5 rocket is set for retirement — including the Webb Telescope — and Europe in time struggling To approach the final frontier.

French company Arianespace will launch its heavy-lift launch vehicle at 90 on Wednesday.The minute release window opens at 6:00 pm ET. Ariane 5 will finally lift off from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, where its bittersweet launch will be broadcast live. The broadcast will begin at 5:30 PM via ArianeSpace YouTube channel And you can also tune in via the feed below.

Flight VA261 | Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit & SYRACUSE 4B | Ariane 5 | Arianespace

For its last mission, Ariane 5 systems will deliver two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit. One of the payloads belongs to a communication satellite The German Space Agency and the French Military Telecommunications Organization.

It’s been a long time –And often success –Run for Europe’s workhorse of a rocket. Ariane 5 debuted in 1996, but its initial launch failed, Whereas Its second launch a year later was somewhat successful. Since then, the heavy-lift vehicle has been launched an average of six to seven times a year for a total of 116 liftoffs. European Space Agency (ESA).

The rocket consists of two side boosters and a main stage with an upper stage powered by a liquid-propellant engine. Ariane delivered 5 main payloads into orbit The Rosetta Comet explorationPebiColumbo Mission to Mercury, and the Webb Space Telescope.

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Ariane 5 is Europe’s main ride into space, and without it the European space industry will soon have no rocket options, at least for the foreseeable future. Successor to Rocket, Ariane 6, Originally scheduled to take off in 2020, But its initial flight has been pushed back several times and now it is Scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2023. Ariane 6 is intended to be a cheaper alternative to Ariane 5, which the European space agency hopes will compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. As an aside, the original Vega Rocket remains an option.

Except for Ariane 6, Arianespace’s Vega-C rocket crashes In December 2022, its launches were suspended as a result of its destruction. This comes just months after the long-awaited launch of Vega-C to fill a gap in the European market. At the end of June, the The rocket suffered setbacks When a The solid rocket motor has failed During a static-fire test—a It was an unfortunate incident It is expected to delay the rocket’s return to flight until 2024.

After Severs ties with Russia Following the invasion of Ukraine, Europe stopped It relies on Russian Soyuz rockets to deliver its payload into orbit. ESA Recently returned For SpaceX To provide its Euclid telescope, which was initiated On July 1 ABoard a Falcon 9 rocket.

As Ariane 5 takes to the skies for the last time, Europa will continue to battle its rocket woes on the ground, saying goodbye to its main orbital access provider.

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