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Launch timeline for the Ariane 5 rocket’s 87th flight

An Ariane 5 rocket will fire into the sky from French Guiana just after sunset Wednesday and deliver nearly 12 tons of payload to an orbit reaching 22,000 miles up less than a half-hour later.

The nearly 180-foot-tall (55-meter) launcher will blast off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 2155 GMT (5:55 p.m. EDT; 6:55 p.m. French Guiana time) on its fourth flight of the year with the Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 communications satellites.

Made in California by Boeing and Space Systems/Loral, respectively, Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 will ride aboard the Ariane 5 in a dual-payload stack. The larger of the two satellites, Intelsat 33e, will deploy first, followed by separation of Intelsat 36 around 42 minutes after liftoff.

The rocket will target an orbit ranging from 155 miles (250 kilometers) to 22,294 miles (35,879 kilometers), with a tilt of 6 degrees to the equator.

Date source: Arianespace

T-0:00:00: Vulcain 2 ignition

The Ariane 5's first stage Vulcain 2 main engine ignites as the countdown clock hits zero, throttling up to about 300,000 pounds of thrust and undergoing a computer health check before liftoff.
The Ariane 5’s first stage Vulcain 2 main engine ignites as the countdown clock hits zero, throttling up to about 300,000 pounds of thrust and undergoing a computer health check before liftoff.

T+0:00:07: Solid rocket booster ignition and liftoff

The Ariane 5's two solid rocket boosters ignite seven seconds later, each generating more than 1.3 million pounds of thrust.
The Ariane 5’s two solid rocket boosters ignite seven seconds later, each generating more than 1.3 million pounds of thrust, to push the vehicle into the sky from the ELA-3 launch pad.

T+0:00:50: Mach 1

The Ariane 5 rocket surpasses the speed of sound, heading east over the Atlantic Ocean.
The Ariane 5 rocket surpasses the speed of sound, heading east over the Atlantic Ocean.

T+0:02:22: Solid rocket boosters jettisoned

After each consuming 240 metric tons, or about 530,000 pounds, of pre-packed propellant, the solid rocket boosters are jettisoned.
After each consuming 240 metric tons, or about 530,000 pounds, of pre-packed propellant, the solid rocket boosters are jettisoned.

T+0:03:24: Payload fairing jettisoned

The Ariane 5's payload fairing, made in Switzerland by Ruag Space, releases in a clamshell-like fashion once the rocket flies above the denser, lower layers of Earth's atmosphere.
The Ariane 5’s 17.7-foot-diameter (5.4-meter) payload fairing, made in Switzerland by Ruag Space, releases in a clamshell-like fashion once the rocket flies above the denser, lower layers of Earth’s atmosphere.

T+0:08:59: Vulcain 2 shutdown

The Ariane 5's core stage Vulcain 2 main engine shuts down after consuming 175 metric tons (385,000 pounds) of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.
The Ariane 5’s core stage Vulcain 2 main engine shuts down after consuming 175 metric tons (385,000 pounds) of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

T+0:09:00: Stage separation

The Ariane 5's first and second stages separate. The 98-foot-long (30-meter) first stage will fall into the Atlantic Ocean near the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa.
The Ariane 5’s first and second stages separate. The 98-foot-long (30-meter) first stage will fall into the Atlantic Ocean near the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa.

T+0:09:04: HM7B ignition

The Ariane 5's upper stage HM7B engine ignites for a 16-minute, 9-second burn to place the Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 satellites into geostationary transfer orbit. The HM7B engine burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, and generates more than 14,000 pounds of thrust.
The Ariane 5’s upper stage HM7B engine ignites for a 16-minute, 27-second burn to place the Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 satellites into geostationary transfer orbit. The HM7B engine burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, and generates more than 14,000 pounds of thrust.

T+0:25:13: HM7B shutdown

The HM7B engine shuts down after placing the Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 33 satellites into geostationary transfer orbit with a low point of 155 miles (250 kilometers), a high point of 22,294 miles (35,879 kilometers), and an inclination of 6 degrees to the equator.
The HM7B engine shuts down after placing the Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 satellites into geostationary transfer orbit with a low point of 155 miles (250 kilometers), a high point of 22,294 miles (35,879 kilometers), and an inclination of 6 degrees to the equator.

T+0:28:47: Intelsat 33e separation

The Intelsat 33e satellite, riding in the upper position on the Ariane 5's dual-payload stack, deploys to begin a 15-year mission serving television, broadband and mobile communications markets.
The Intelsat 33e satellite, riding in the upper position on the Ariane 5’s dual-payload stack, deploys to begin a 15-year mission serving television, broadband and mobile communications markets in Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean region.

T+0:30:21: Sylda 5 separation

The Sylda 5 dual-payload adapter structure jettisons from the Ariane 5 upper stage, revealing the Intelsat 36 spacecraft for deployment.
The Sylda 5 dual-payload adapter structure jettisons from the Ariane 5 upper stage, revealing the Intelsat 36 spacecraft for deployment.

T+0:41:50: Intelsat 36 separation

The Intelsat 36 satellite is released from the Ariane 5 upper stage to support video services over Africa and South Asia.
The Intelsat 36 satellite is released from the Ariane 5 upper stage to support video services over Africa and South Asia.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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Launch timeline for the Ariane 5 rocket’s 87th flight

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