After suffering several days delay due to fluid line connector and helium flush pipe issues the Ariane 5 ECA flight VA222 finally flew at 2000 GMT on 26 April 2015 with a successful lift off from its Kourou launch site in French Guiana. Aboard the launch vehicle were two telecommunications satellites: Thor 7 and Sicral 2 being injected into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on their way to their final operational positions within the Geostationary arc.
Thor 7 is a commercial communications satellite built by Space Systems/Loral for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting. The SSL-1300 (LS-1300) bus spacecraft weighs 4,600kg at launch and has a 15-year design life. The spacecraft carries a communications payload of both Ku- and Ka-band transponders. Apart from its commercial activities, the satellite will also relay weather reports from Antarctic weather stations from its Geostationary position over 0.8 degrees West.
Sicral 2 is an Italian military communications satellite which is carrying an Italian UHF payload and the French Sycracuse 3C SHF payload. The 4,400kg satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space, construction and launch was financed by Telespazio in return for right to market spare capacity to third party countries. The satellite will initially operate from Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) over 37 degrees East and has a design life of 15 years.