Successful Ariane 5 ECA liftoff
The new ESA's workhorse for lifting heavy payloads (up to 10 tonnes) into space, Ariane 5 ECA, has successfully completed its initial qualification flight. Now the commercial production of the enhanced version, which will replace the current Ariane 5 Generic, can begin. On this flight the launcher carried three payloads: a 3600-kg commercial X-band communication satellite XTAR-EUR, a 129-kg Sloshsat FLEVO minisatellite and a 3500-kg Maqsat B2 to simulate commercial satellite payloads. The second flight is scheduled for mid-year.
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Enhanced Ariane 5 demonstrates heavy-lift capability