Looking shorter than its brothers, an Ariane 5 ES successfully put four Galileo navsats into orbit. Courtesy: Arianespace


An Ariane 5 ES was launched from the Kourou launch site, in French Guiana, South America, at 1125 GMT on 25 July. It was carrying four Galileo satellites 23, 24, 25 and 26 of the navigation satelllite constellation to Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). This was the last launch of an Ariane 5 ES variant and was the completion of the constellation. The Ariane 6 will be used to launch any replacement Galileo satellites as and when they are needed.

Later in the day, albeit by just 14 minutes, Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 launch vehicle successfully launched ten Irdiium Next communications satellites into their initial near polar low Earth orbit at 1139 GMT on 25 July from the Vandenberg launch site in California, USA. The satellites are expected to raise themselves into their operational orbit in a few weeks or so. The first stage booster was successfully recovered on the barge “Just Read The Instructions” eight minutes after launch.