On the 70th launch of the Ariane 5 family of launch vehicles, an Ariane 5 ECA successfully placed two major satellites into orbit following its 1954 GMT lift off from the Kourou launch site in French Guaina on 25 July. The spacecraft being injected into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) included Alphasat I-XL, which at 6,550kg mass at lift off was Europe’s largest ever communications satellite. It is being launched on behalf of the international communications satellite operator, Inmarsat. The spacecraft was partially funded using European Space Agency technology development money as part of the Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme.
The second spacecraft on the flight was Insat 3D. This 2120kg satelites will provide telecommuncations and meteorological services across the Indian subcontinent and uses the I-2K bus – a satellite platform developed by Indian Space Reseach Organisation.