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More Ariane 5 launches planned this year after French Guyana lift-off

media Ariane 5 rocket lifts off from Kourou, French Guyana Reuters/ESA - S. Corvaja

European satellite launch operator Arianespace says it will put into orbit another four Ariane 5 rockets before the end of the year, following the successful launch from Kourou in French Guyana on Friday of an automated craft carrying supplies for the International Space Station.


Arianespace chief executive Jean-Yves Le Gall said launches of the heavy lifter Ariane are already scheduled for 15 May, 19 June and the end of July.

“The sequence of events that we see before us is most likely to be four Ariane launches then three Soyuz followed by one or two more Ariane,” he said.

The medium-sized Soviet-Russian space veteran Soyuz will be launched during the summer to put into orbit two new Galileo satellites as part of a European navigation project designed to compete with a system from the United States.

Friday’s successful launch was the 205th for Ariane. The unmanned, 20-tonne vessel it sent into orbit, called Amaldi, was carrying cargo to the six astronauts at the space station including oxygen,water, food, clothing and medical supplies.

After being placed into orbit, Amaldi is designed to navigate its way to the space station by starlight and dock automatically.

It will be moored for six months before detaching from the space stations and, laden with rubbish, it will burn up in a controlled destruction over the southern Pacific.




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