In Photos: Ariane 5 Rocket Launches Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C Communications Satellites

Image 1 of 16

The Ariane 5 rocket stands ready for launch zone ELA-3 at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, on Aug. 5, 2019.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

On Aug. 6, 2019, Arianespace used an Ariane 5 rocket to launch two new communications satellites into orbit on a rideshare mission: Intelsat 39 and the first European Data Relay Satellite, EDRS-C. See photos of the mission here!

Full Story: Ariane 5 Rocket Launches 2 New Communications Satellites

Image 2 of 16

An Ariane 5 rocket designated VA249 launches the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C communications satellites into orbit on Aug. 6, 2019.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

Liftoff!

An Ariane 5 rocket designated VA249 launches the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C communications satellites into orbit on Aug. 6, 2019. 

Image 3 of 16

An Ariane 5 rocket designated VA249 launches the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C communications satellites into orbit on Aug. 6, 2019.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

A trail of smoke

A long-distance shot of the launch shows the Ariane 5 rocket leaving a trail of smoke as it takes to the skies. 

Image 4 of 16

An Ariane 5 rocket designated VA249 launches the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C communications satellites into orbit on Aug. 6, 2019.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

Up, up and away!

The Ariane 5 rocket rides a pillar of flames and smoke into the sky after lifting off from the Guiana Space Center. 

Image 5 of 16

An Ariane 5 rocket designated VA249 launches the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C communications satellites into orbit on Aug. 6, 2019.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

Ariane 5 profile

The Ariane 5 rocket completed a planned roll maneuver on its way to space. The roll began 17 seconds after liftoff and lasted 15 seconds. 

Image 6 of 16

An Ariane 5 rocket designated VA249 launches the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C communications satellites into orbit on Aug. 6, 2019.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

Booster separation

After the Ariane 5 rocket's two side boosters separated, they could be seen falling to Earth while the rocket's upper stage continued into orbit. 

Image 7 of 16

An Ariane 5 rocket designated VA249 launches the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C communications satellites into orbit on Aug. 6, 2019.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

Fairing jettisoned

The payload fairing that provided a protective shell for the two satellites during the launch was jettisoned 2 minutes and 21 seconds after liftoff. Here, you can see the fairing falling back to Earth in a screenshot from Arianespace's webcast of the mission. 

Image 8 of 16

The Ariane 5 rocket rolls out to launch zone ELA-3 at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, on Aug. 5, 2019.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

Rocket on a roll

The Ariane 5 rocket rolls out to launch zone ELA-3 at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, on Aug. 5, 2019.

Image 9 of 16

The EDRS-C satellite is loaded with propellant at the Guiana Spaceport's payload preparation facility.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

EDRS-C fuels up

The EDRS-C satellite is loaded with propellant at the Guiana Spaceport's payload preparation facility.

Image 10 of 16

In Ottobrunn, Germany, the European Space Agency's laser satellite EDRS-C undergoes final testing at Airbus Defence & Space before being shipped to the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana.

(Image credit: ESA)

Acoustic tests with EDRS-C

In Ottobrunn, Germany, the European Space Agency's laser satellite EDRS-C undergoes final testing at Airbus Defence & Space before being shipped to the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana.

Image 11 of 16

Intelsat 39 undergoes testing at the Maxar Technologies manufacturing facility, where it was built.

(Image credit: Maxar Technologies)

Intelsat 39 tests at Maxar

Intelsat 39 undergoes testing at the Maxar Technologies manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, California, where it was built.

Image 12 of 16

EDRS-C, the second satellite to join the European Data Relay System (EDRS) constellation, is mated with its launch vehicle at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

(Image credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

EDRS-C prepped for launch

EDRS-C, the second satellite to join the European Data Relay System (EDRS) constellation, is mated with its launch vehicle at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. 

Image 13 of 16

Intelsat 39 is fueled inside the Guiana Spaceport's payload preparation facility.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

Intelsat 39 fuels up

Intelsat 39 is fueled inside the Guiana Spaceport's payload preparation facility.

Image 14 of 16

The spacecraft fairing containing Intelsat 39 is ready for installation atop the Ariane 5 rocket.

(Image credit: Arianespace)

In the rocket fairing

The spacecraft fairing containing Intelsat 39 is ready for installation atop the Ariane 5 rocket.

Image 15 of 16

An artist's impression of the Intelsat 39 communications satellite in orbit.

(Image credit: Maxar Technologies)

Intelsat 39

An artist's impression of the Intelsat 39 communications satellite in orbit.

Image 16 of 16

An artist's impression of the EDRS-C satellite in orbit.

(Image credit: ESA)

EDRS-C

An artist's impression of the EDRS-C satellite in orbit.

Mission videos

Watch the launch replay!

Intelsat 39 & EDRS-C satellites explained

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.