Arianespace plans to launch their first Ariane 5 mission of 2022 on 2022-06-22 at 18:03 UTC. The launch, from the European Space Centre in French Guiana, will carry two communication satellites, MEASAT-3d for Malaysia, and GSAT-24 for NewSpace India Ltd. to geostationary orbit.
The impact of SpaceX on the commercial satellite launch market is evident from the fact this this is only the second Arianespace mission so far this year, with the other a Soyuz launch before the imposition of sanctions on Russia put an end to Soyuz launches by Arianespace.
Here is a pre-flight preview by Everyday Astronaut.
After lengthy delays, the mission launched successfully and delivered both payloads to their planned geostationary transfer orbits. I have cued the replay to start one minute before launch.
A quarter of a century after its introduction in 1996, Ariane 5 is long in the tooth and finds it difficult to compete with SpaceX, but it was originally a breakthrough in geostationary satellite launch and “ate the lunch” of the U.S. commercial launch providers using ICBM-heritage rockets such as Atlas, Delta, and Titan. Ariane was designed to minimise cost, with just a single engine on the core and upper stages and the ability to carry two satellites on each launch. For years it dominated the commercial communication satellite launch market, but as satellites became larger and heavier it was difficult to find pairs of payloads that were within its capacity, and innovations such as electric propulsion for satellite station keeping increased the orbital lifetime of satellites, reducing launch demand.
A total of 113 Ariane 5 launches have occurred since 1996, with 108 (95.6%) successful.