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Arianespace Ready for Liftoff

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the anxiously-awaiting-the-space-elevator dept.

Space 93

stuckinarut writes to tell us Arianespace is reporting that their newest Ariane dual-satellite ECA mission rolled out of the assembly building and is set for a launch today (Nov 12) at 2345 GMT. This flight is set to demonstrate the massive lift capacity of nearly 10,000 kg and is currently the "only commercial vehicle that can launch two mainstream telecommunications satellite payloads on the same mission."

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First launch! (-1, Troll)

Cally (10873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016414)

First successful laun...- - --))> BOOM! ))-- - -

Re:First launch! (2, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016422)

The only commercial vehicle that can lose two mainstream telecommunications satellite payloads on the same mission. ;)

Re:First launch! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016436)

Rather like striping two hard drives ... double the capacity, double the risk.

Re:First launch! (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016806)

It's better to burn out then fade away!

Re:First launch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016867)

How can you fade away once you've already burnt out?

Oh, you meant, "It's better to burn out than fade away!"

You fucking stillbirth, why don't you bother to learn English? You're fucking pathetic, and I hope your genes are never able to survive another generation so that we must endure your children's idiocy, or even worse, THEIR children's idiocy! The humanity!

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016438)

Well, I'm impressed. First post, and it wasn't "first post!".

Re:First Post (1)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016798)


You obviously haven't met this guy [slashdot.org] .

Wow! (-1, Redundant)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016416)

Two!!!!

Re:Wow! (0, Redundant)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016598)

> is currently the "only commercial vehicle
> that can launch two mainstream telecommunications
> satellite payloads on the same mission."

It's also currently the "only commercial vehicle that can [b]blow up[/b] two mainstream telecommunications satellite payloads on the same mission."

Well, it may not be the only one... (1)

something_wicked_thi (918168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016748)

It also depends on where it lands.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14017169)

It's also currently the "only commercial vehicle that can [b]blow up[/b] two mainstream telecommunications satellite payloads on the same mission."

Yeah, but it doesn't beat the US with their vehicule that can blow up 7 astronauts on the same mission.

Replace my telstars already damn it (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016426)

This probably won't make a dent in the cost for sat services, but lifting two at a time might not be a bad idea.

At around 4$/minute for a digital video transmission... it's not exactly the cheapest service in the area. (That's a certain affiliate rate too)

More important than it seems (1, Insightful)

external400kdiskette (930221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016435)

Things like the capability to launch two at once will help bring down costs assosicated with space that prevent commercilization. With science not being considered important lately with NASA's financial problems and the lack of anybody giving a damm commercialization of space will become more improtant than ever.

That will depend (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016460)

on the price / launch and how often it is done. Don't forget that much of the cost of a launch is the support crew. It may actually be cheaper to do multiple launches spreading the fixed cost over more.

With that said, if there are enough launches, it will lower the costs.

Re:More important than it seems (3, Insightful)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016498)

I doubt the launch is that much cheaper, and in the long run it definately won't be. Look at it this way - yes, there is a small marginal decrease in launch price as mass increases. But there is a much larger marginal increase in launch price as launch rate goes down. This could have been done in two launches. The vehicle design cost and launch personel cost (the primary cost components) is slightly higher (per kg) for a lower launch mass, but the cost is sunk (you have to pay the people even when you do not launch, and you have to pay interest on your design cost loans even when you do not launch). Essentially, the second launch is almost free! The only reason is doesn't seem that way is cost accounting, where the cost is spread out per flight. A more realistic accounting method is to say that the first flight costs $10B, and every flight thereafter costs only $10M.

In the free market, most companies know this - but in a government market, no one cares...

Re:More important than it seems (2, Funny)

mickwd (196449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016855)

Wow, if only these highly experienced businessmen with the skill, judgement and determination to make it to the top of large multinational companies had just thought to read Slashdot they could have saved themselves millions by reading your post.

I bet they never even thought of the money they could save. Companies today, huh ? Splashing around millions and millions of pounds as if there's no tomorrow.

Re:More important than it seems (2, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016873)

You have to pay people even when you do not launch

You have to pay your people. You don't have to pay your vast network of contractors, and you don't have to increase your labor force to support a higher launch rate.

With government-funded rocket systems the world over, development costs are not factored into launch costs. Launch costs on the Ariane 5 EC-A are over 10k$/kg, with a full payload at that. Yes, the more frequently you launch, the cheaper the price per kg; however, it doesn't come close to justifying not putting two payloads on one rocket if you're capable of it. The fact is that these are inherently massive, complex vehicles which always require a lot of careful assembly and inspection work.

By the way, one of the big advantages of the shuttle was just that - multiple launches of large payloads per mission. It lets you more efficiently utilize your payload capacity with such heavy sats, so while the shuttle was expensive per kilogram, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Of course, for now the shuttle is out for the count. Seing Europe's large-payload workhorse place multiple sizable payloads on a single mission is a very nice thing :)

Re:More important than it seems (2, Insightful)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016972)

In the free market, most companies know this

Ariane operates on a free market. Even if there is no competition.

Re:More important than it seems (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14022518)

I'll just reply to your comment, though it is a general reply to the above. What makes Ariane different is that all development costs are paid for by the government, to the contractor. The contractor will therefore charge the maximum development cost that he can - and a bigger rocket means a more expensive rocket. In the eyes of a government contractor, this is a very good thing - so they use cost accounting to justify it.

In the private sector (where by that I mean that private money funds all development and deployment costs), the amount of money the company makes is inversely related to the cost of the project - so they will choose the least expensive configuration.

If you look at the current private company business plans, they are all trying for maximum flight rate of minimally sized craft. If you look at the government funded spacecraft, they are all going after maximum single launch payload. This is not a coincidence...

Re:More important than it seems (1)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14057534)

"you look at the government funded spacecraft, they are all going after maximum single launch payload."

Actually, no. They are developing the Vega too, for instance.

Also makes it.... (2, Insightful)

Bruha (412869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016440)

the first mainstream rocket that can destory 2 communications satellites at the same time. From the payload specs 2 very big and expensive ones at that.

I do not want to sound cruel... (2, Interesting)

aepervius (535155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016527)

But also at least when ariane explode you only lose 2 com sat, not 3-4 lives. And probably only a few milliard not a dozen.

Furthermore let us see how much payload was put by all classic rocket booster in orbit (EU/russian/china), shall we, and how much the shuttle did ? Adn at WHAT price per kilogram ?

Don't get me wrong I think the shuttle is a wonderful advancement, but let us be honest. When it comes for payload... It don't comes to the ankle of conventional rocket for price, simplicity, frequency, and risk (read:human lives)...

Re:I do not want to sound cruel... (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016869)

Hey, since you aren't a native English speaker, I figure I'd point out something about your post. "Milliard" is extremely rare in English, and is never used in American dialect. billion is the more common term. I actually had to look up milliard to see what it meant.

Not trying to be a bother, just trying to be helpful. I'm sure if you saw me try to write in French, you'd point out my errors, too. At least, you'd point out the first few dozen errors, and then give up by the time you got to the second sentence. :)

I try to remmember (offtopic) (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016939)

but keep forgetting. Billion. Not Milliard. And presumably Trillion not trilliard. I will always glady accept correction when they are made as civil as yours. If only I could leanr as easily :).

Re:I try to remmember (offtopic) (3, Interesting)

psicic (171000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017726)

(O/T) As a native English speaker, I was delighted to see you use the term milliard simply because I was always taught by school teachers and 'educated' people that a billion should be defined as 10^12(1,000,000,000,000) but that, as a sop to the overwhelming influence of the American economy and cultural might, billion should be regarded as 10^9(1,000,000,000).

So, for instance, in Business Studies class, we strictly meant 10^9 if we used the word billion, but in English class, the meaning was much more ambiguous.

Since the mid-seventies, officially a billion has meant 10^9 in government documents in Britain, Ireland and elsewhere, but its old meaning as 10^12 has remained colloquially. (I left secondary school in 1999, which is fairly recent and it was still possible to use the 10^12 form then).

My point? Long-scale convention for naming numbers is just as valid as short-scale(see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales [wikipedia.org] ) but if you want the vast majority of people to understand, use the word 'Billion'

Re:I try to remmember (offtopic) (1)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018323)

I read that and it made a lot of sense. I always wondered why billion, with the bi wasn't two millions (multiplied that is, so a million squared). That made a lot of sense. Sigh. Too bad in American English it's deprecated to the point that we have to look up definitions. I haven't even heard older people use that terminology, my parents haven't even heard it before.

Re:I do not want to sound cruel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14017437)

extremely rare, but impressive just the same...
Actually the first time I've *ever* seen "Milliard" used. Only reason I'm even familiar with the word is b/c I was trying to figure out why T.F. "Million" was abbreviated "MM" rather that "M" back when I was working on some financial softw... I know, also has to do with "M"=1000 in roman num...

Also makes T-1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016635)

the first mainstream automobile that can kill five people at the same time. From the passenger specs 5 very big and expensive ones at that.

Back in my day... (5, Funny)

JrbM689 (896692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016442)

...we only blew up one satellite at a time.

The launch has been scrubbed for today (4, Informative)

paper_boats (872407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016907)

I'm sitting in Boeing's Mission Control Center right now. Latest news is that the launch has been cancelled for today, not sure when the next attempt will be.

I certainly was surprised to see this show up on the front page of slashdot. It's not a super big deal that Ariane is launching two satellites at once, they have done that before. I guess the capacity has increased from the sounds of it? One of the satellites onboard (Spaceway F2) will be one of the largest commercial satellites ever launched. It's sister satellite, Spaceway F1, was launched last April and was successfully delivered to the DirecTV customer this fall. They are both about 6100 kg when fully loaded with fuel.

Companies may be able to save some money by doing a dual-manifest launch but it can also be a real pain in the ass. This launch was originally supposed to happen in June but the other satellite had problems and had to get sent back to home base to be checked out thus delaying Spaceway F2 also. Plus when you get your own launcher you can have a lot more control over what orbit you are injected into and the launch window. Ariane provides a standard GTO injection with their ECA launcher, which is not the most desireable orbit for some satellites.

Re:Back in my day... (0, Flamebait)

fuck_this_shit (727749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017342)

... we fried astronauts instead of satellites.

Is the flight any cheaper per pound... (1)

Wisgary (799898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016443)

...than a single satellite launch?

Re:Is the flight any cheaper per pound... (2, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016560)

I've seen claims that the Arianne 5 is $6,700 per kg to LEO while the space shuttle is $19,000. Note that the shuttle, if it were launched in volume (eg, 40 trips per year), would be under $10,000 per kg (the marginal cost per launch is on the order of 200 to 250 million per launch), and presumably we'd see similar savings in an Arianne program as well.

What about pollution? (0, Redundant)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016608)

If it takes more than twice as much fuel, then is it worth it to the environment? I hate that they keep telling me that my car is a huge source of pollution, yet burn thousands of gallons of fuel to launch a satellite, land a robot on mars, etc.

Re:What about pollution? (2, Informative)

marsperson (909862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016666)

I see your point, but rockets being a lot rarer than cars, I would imagine they don't account for much pollution in the grand scheme of things.

Re:What about pollution? (1)

Hlewagastir (857624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016758)

Yeah, you're absolutely right, I think I'll go out and buy myself a land yacht, knowing that no matter what, driving to the grocery store in it will pollute the environment far less than a rocket launch. All sarcasm aside, methinks when you add up all the cars on the road today and how much they pollute in chorus, you'll find that rocket launches are the least of our concerns, not to mention that AFAIK a large portion of the propellant burned by many space craft is a H + 02 reaction, which doesn't exactly create much pollution.

Commercial space race (4, Insightful)

CdXiminez (807199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016444)

A new Ariane and the Galileo GPS [esa.int] well under way, it seems Europe is into the space race in a very commercial way.

Re:Commercial space race (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016717)

Not only. Also science stuff.

You'd know that for a long time already, but Slashdot editors never accepted my entry or any of the few others (from few people I know - one finishes studying English philology, so their poor grammar wasn't the cause).
Namely: in less than 2 years ESA launches Herschell Space Observatory, which recently was assembled and completed important part of testing. It will be put around L2 (yep, like JWST), operate in infrared (yep), but of course will be put at least 5 years earlier than JWST. so Hubble can soon go without much damage.

Of course Slashot editors like to hysterize about the lack of American replacement for Hubble and disregard stories telling that soon we _will_ have replacement...and much better.

Re:Commercial space race (1)

at_18 (224304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016785)

soon we _will_ have replacement...and much better.

Not exactly. Herschel (once called FIRST) is a far-infrared telescope. It doesn't make images in the visibile range, nor in the near ultraviolet which was one of the Hubble's bigger strengths.

Re:Commercial space race (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016831)

It doesn't make any images.

It's not up.

But it _will_ do images in visible range. But you can't know this, our stories were rejected (oh, and at the same time 2 stories about Hubble replacement in style of "I've got nightmares this night" were posted)

Re:Commercial space race (2, Funny)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016893)

A new Ariane and the Galileo GPS well under way, it seems Europe is into the space race in a very commercial way.

What race is that?

The physical communal activity that the current state of the world's governmental space programs most resembles is a 'Fun Run,' no winner, no loser, just something they do so they can wear the t-shirt to the neighborhood barbecue.

Government A:We just launched another satellite.
Government B:We have plans to land on the Moon within a decade.
Government C:We've been to the Moon!
Government D:Allegedly.
Governments A, B, D:<snicker>
Government C:Screw you guys, I'm going home.

Been there, done that (3, Informative)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016451)

"only commercial vehicle that can launch two mainstream telecommunications satellite payloads on the same mission."

The shuttle once launched 3 [nasa.gov] geosynchonous satellites in a single mission. This is not a big deal. I am surprised the moderators found it news worthy.

Re:Been there, done that (1)

Slack3r78 (596506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016484)

I suppose it depends on the cost of this particular rocket as well, given that each shuttle launch costs in the range of a half-billion dollars.

Re:Been there, done that (1)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016830)

I'm sure the cost/satellite or cost/payload pound on almost anything is less than the shuttle. Still, this launch is probably costing a couple 100 $million. Things like this don't come cheap. $200 million compared to $500 million for the shuttle is a significant savings, but it's not astoundingly less. And if you account for other properties of the space shuttle such as the human rating, and deorbit capabilities, the difference shrinks dramatically.

I think developments like this Ariane are in the wrong direction though. If they designed a rocket from the start that was sized for just one of the satellites it is launching today, it would cost less per launch and would cost less for development. And cost development could be spread across more launches.

As well, satellites should be getting smaller as time moves on. The state of bus architecture on satellites is about 5 years behind the state of bus architecture on the ground. Sure, transceiver antennae will always be a given size, but launches in the $30 to $50 million/launch range of thing should be able to handle 90% of the satellite launches in another 10 years. Which may seem like a long ways away, but that's only about 1 generation of satellites down the road. Most comm satellites spend around 2 years in development, and spend probably 3 years from customer request to activation in orbit. New generations aren't produced with every satellites, only every few satellites if improvements can be seen as useful.

It's sort of like the Airbus A380. How many flight will use the A380 over the next 10 years? How many will continue using Boeing 737s? The 737s (and similar sizes from other companies) can cover 90% of the flights needed. They're small, relatively efficient (in capacity, performance, etc), and capable.

Re:Been there, done that (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016919)

I think developments like this Ariane are in the wrong direction though. If they designed a rocket from the start that was sized for just one of the satellites it is launching today, it would cost less per launch and would cost less for development.

AFAIK, you're wrong. First Ariane rockets were smaller. The new model has been designed for two satellites because it is cheaper. No other reason.

It's sort of like the Airbus A380. How many flight will use the A380 over the next 10 years? How many will continue using Boeing 737s? The 737s (and similar sizes from other companies) can cover 90% of the flights needed. They're small, relatively efficient (in capacity, performance, etc), and capable.
You will see. But the A380 will be cheaper and much more confortable. Anyway, they are not for the same airlines.

Re:Been there, done that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016489)

Here are the missing words from your quote: "and is currently the".

Re:Been there, done that (2, Insightful)

apederso (619173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016490)

Sure, the suttle can do a lot of things that comercial vehicles can't do. The point here is the increasing abilities of comercial systems. Think about it, wouldn't you like to see inexpensive satellite services? Well as long as you have to rely on the government (through taxes) or expensive single shot commercial services that isn't going to happen. The sooner that commercial services eclipse NASA the better we will all be, or the better the national space program for China will be at least.

Re:Been there, done that (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016497)

Maybe you missed the connection that the Space shuttle is a government vehicle, and is not accepting or launching commercial payload? Actually, it's not launching anything right now.

Re:Been there, done that (2, Interesting)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016550)

They made countless promises about what the shuttle could do while it was been built, in order to get funding.

Non of those promises ever panned out, except for hubble servicing, which they are no longer doing because it's "too dangerous".

As a launch platform that had specific design goals, it has failed miserably.

Unmanned rockets/satellites/probes such as the Ariane is where true space exploration lies. If something goes wrong it doesn't take lives with it. It is inherently more practical.

Re:Been there, done that (2, Interesting)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016969)

Unmanned rockets/satellites/probes such as the Ariane is where true space exploration lies. If something goes wrong it doesn't take lives with it. It is inherently more practical.

How much would you have to be paid for a job on which you had a 2% chance of dying? I'd do it for $400K even if it didn't let me go to orbit. Even if you assume for some reason that high performance vehicle pilots are more risk-averse than I am, you're still not going to come up with a cost to life that exceeds the cost of the most expensive satellites and the launch vehicles themselves.

Unmanned flights aren't inherently more practical, they're just inherently safer PR. If every company risked losing hundreds of billions of dollars of funding any time an employee died, we wouldn't have any bridges or skyscrapers until we could build them with robots.

Re:Been there, done that (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017322)

Maybe you missed the connection that the Space shuttle is a government vehicle, and is not accepting or launching commercial payload?

Are you suggesting that the Arianne V is a commercial vehicle developed by a few free market entrepreneurs? How ridiculous! Its development was subsidized by Europe to the tune of billions of Euros. Niether it nor the US EELV's will ever loft enough commercial payloads to pay for its development.

Re:Been there, done that (2, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016600)

The US Space Program should not be concerned with being commercially successful. Let private enterprise take care of putting commercial satellites in space. The capability is there now. The Space Program needs to return to its roots. It needs to return to space exploration, going to the next frontier. NASA seems to have lost its way. It is no longer made up of the best and the brightest as it once was. Certainly we shouldn't just throw money away but I think most Americans would still support the expense of space exploration if there were results they could see. The list of useful inventions that have made our life better due to the Space Program is impressive but not really the point. There is currently no excitement in the country because what is the goal right now. We need a visionary plan something to bring excitement to the masses and build support for NASA. As long as the mission is to put satellites into space or ferry supplies to the space station, no one will care, and NASA's critics will have the sole voice being heard.

Re:Been there, done that (2, Informative)

MurphyZero (717692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017275)

US Space program (NASA) should be concerned with two things: Science missions (other planets, astronomy, Earth observation) which no one will or can make a buck on. How many and priority should be based on national desire (first is a function of budget, determined by Congress--second is function of NASA director, which is determined by President). The other is manned exploration. To be honest, this one is of limited value compared to the science missions. The new NASA direction may fix some of the negatives of the Shuttle, but the overlap period (fly out of shuttle and development of replacement) is critical and will probably be royally messed up.

Re:Been there, done that (2, Interesting)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016951)

The shuttle is a bulky, overpriced Delta IV booster when they used it to fire satellites into orbit.

What needed to be done is to utilize the shuttle in building the Large Communications Arrays that they had been planning on ever since the inception of the RLV programs.

But noo, NASA had to use the shuttles in their PR campaign by blowing taxpayer dollars in putting itty bitty commo and recon birds into orbit.

Pretty much the only birds that actually were worth the E-Ticket were the Magellan Probe and Hubble Telescope. Pulling regular scheduled maitainence on the HST was where the shuttle really came into it's element by doing what it was designed for; in-space repair and upgrades to large ailing satellites that are too expensive or time-consuming to replace.

Maybe 20, 30 years down the line we can start looking into another series of RLVs that can do what the original SST program's goals had in mind, but for now, we'll settle for the Son of the Saturn V family to loft us back to the good ole moon to stay.

Re:Been there, done that (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017538)

Yeah but that was 20 years ago. Just like USA used to be able to land on the Moon 30 years ago. Try it right now and you will see that USA is not capable of doing these things anymore. It just costs too much for you to pay for it.

Now, take China. It seems quite likely that they will rule the world in 20 years time. 1 billion people working for the government, you just can't beat that.

Re:Been there, done that (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017825)

Yeah but that was 20 years ago. Just like USA used to be able to land on the Moon 30 years ago. Try it right now and you will see that USA is not capable of doing these things anymore. It just costs too much for you to pay for it.

I'm sure it is an attractive prospect for you, but you are dillusional. The post shuttle expendable launch vehicles use the best of shuttle technology that NASA has mastery of already - the SSME, shuttle tankage, and the SRB. The the effort fits within NASA's budget, minus the space shuttle. It will take a few years to extricate ourselves from the shuttle/space station mess. I remind you that the US has lofted the vast majority of that boondoggle.

Now, take China. It seems quite likely that they will rule the world in 20 years time. 1 billion people working for the government, you just can't beat that.

I am not so sure. China exports neither culture nor technology. They are a low cost producer but do not innovate. They have a second rate military. Nobody other than a starving North Korean would ever try to immigrate. I do not know how you foresee them achieving world hegemony. They are certainly able to cause mischief, with Taiwan and Japan. But we in the US are lucky to have them because their products and government supported currency raise our standard of living.

Re:Been there, done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018792)

Now, take China. It seems quite likely that they will rule the world in 20 years time. 1 billion people working for the government, you just can't beat that.

Look at China's GDP per capita. It's about US$1,200 per capita. US is approximately US$40,000. China is poor, really, really poor. Of course, there's Purchasing Power Parity, which ups their GDP to an adjusted term of $6,000, that's a seventh of an American.

Okay, so let's look at their growth rate. I'm going to use US$1,200 as PPP isn't relevant here (their growth rate is relative to their absolute GDP, not their PPP GDP). Let's assume that China keeps growing at 9% (which is unsustainable, they are only growing so fast because they're so far behind) and that US only grows at 3%. Guess how long it takes for China to take over the US in living standards, year 2067. Most of us will be dead by then. That assumes that China can keep growth at 9%, that China can manage such a high level of growth without exploding in social unrest, that US can't manage 4% growth, etc, etc. Otherwise, it'll take China even longer.

China is not going to rule the world in 20 years. Even if you ignore per-capita and look at overall GDP. US has approximately a quarter the population of China. It'll take 2043 (with the same assumptions above) for US and China to reach parity. US's population growth is also higher than China (due to the latter's one-child policy, limited space and resources).

China is simply a bogyman, taking over from Japan in the 1980s. Where's Japan now?

Re:Been there, done that (1)

macpeep (36699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019323)

I agree that this launch isn't a big deal, but for other reasons than you suggest.

First of all, the shuttle doesn't launch things to GTO because it itself cannot go to GTO. It launches things to LEO and then the satellites themselves will boost their orbit to GTO, and finally to geosynchronous orbit.

Second, three satellites is no big deal either. For on flight V165, an Ariane 5 launched not one, not two, not three but 7 satellites. Granted one of them was a nano-satellite that weighted only 20kg. Likewise, on flight V162, two satellites were launched to GTO and one to the moon (Smart-1, which was released into GTO but propelled its own way to the moon with ion propulsion). Hell, even the Ukranian Kosmos rocket (that most people haven't even heard about) is capable of similar satellite launching as the shuttle is. Just the other week, it launched TopSat, Rubin 5, Beijing 1, SSETI (which included 3 nano cubesats XI-V, UWE-1 and NCUBE-2), Mozhayets 5 and Sinah 1. When did the shuttle ever launch 9 satellites in one flight? Much less to an orbit that is 686km high. When did the shuttle ever even reach an orbit of 686km?

Third, if you want to compare, compare the Titan 4, Delta 4 or Atlas 5 to the Ariane 5. They are much more comparable. The shuttle is an embarrasing failure.

There's a reason the shuttle hasn't launched any satellites in years. It's too dangerous and too costly! It's totally not worth bringing 3 satellites in the cargo hold and launch them to GTO using their own boosters when you could just pack them into one or two single-use launchers and have it done with much less fuss, cheaper, and without risking the lives of 7 astronauts for no good reason.

The shuttles abililty to "rescue satellites" is the biggest joke ever. Rescue what satellites? The vast majority of satellites are in orbits the shuttle can't even reach. And from the orbits the shuttle CAN reach, satellites decay and fall down to earth in a few years. The one notable exception to this is the Hubble, which is at the edge of where the shuttle can go (around 600km) and has actually been saved by the shuttle.

Granted the Ariane 5 has had its own share of failures but at least the nature of those has been implementation fuckups that can be ironed out rather than design flaws like with the shuttle. And I'm not talking about the O-rings - I'm talking about the way the shuttle is stacked, the "need" for fragile wings, etc.

Peppe

Ariane (0, Troll)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016470)

w00t! finally a blond haired/blue eyed satellite

Re:Ariane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016832)

w00t! another illiterate piece of trailer trash

BLOWS UP! (-1, Redundant)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016486)

It'll be twice expensive when it blows up :-)

elevator (0, Troll)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016519)

offtopic troll me! Cool, let's fill that thing up with as much as it can handle and use the whole craft as a counter-weight for our soon to be constructed space elevator.

SLASHDOT is SHIT (-1, Troll)

kvkvkdoodocmiov (930586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016575)

Why the f**k are you lot using slashdot, digg.com is way better

Re:SLASHDOT is SHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016649)

Why the f**k are you lot using slashdot, digg.com is way better

Well, if you must ask. Digg has it's advantages but it also seems to have more than it's fair share of yahoos and idiots. Perhaps if Digg is so much better, you can stick to posting there.

Are they ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016586)

blond-haired blue-eyed elitists trying to take over space now?

Launch Costs (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016595)

Aren't going to change if the same launch vehicles keep getting used. You need economies of scale to bring down costs, and the only ones who have accomplished that so far are the Russians (they've launched more than double the missions of all the other spacefaring countries combined). The only hope is with companies like Microcosm (www.smad.com) who are working diligently to develop low cost launch vehicles.....

And that's why Europe uses Russian technology... (4, Informative)

andersh (229403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016890)

Your point is well taken - and that's why Europe has chosen to use Russian technology:
ESA has entered into a 340 million euro joint venture with the Russian Federal Space Agency over the use of the Soyuz launcher [wikipedia.org] . Under the agreement, the Russian agency will manufacture Soyuz rocket parts for ESA, which will then be shipped to French Guiana [cia.gov] for assembly. ESA benefits because it gains a medium payloads launcher, complementing its fleet [esa.int] while saving on development costs. In addition, the Soyuz rocket -- which has been the Russian's space launch workhorse for some 40 years -- is proven technology with a good safety record, which ESA might be happy to use for launching humans into space.

This cooperation is well on it's way - this week they used a Soyuz vehicle to launch the successfull ESA mission "Venus Express" [esa.int] .

Re:And that's why Europe uses Russian technology.. (1)

macpeep (36699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019224)

I couldn't quite make out if your post was sarcastic and suggesting that the European space technology is in fact Russian? Or perhaps you were actually saying it like it is. That is, Europe has a strategy of having a heavy lift launcher, a medium lift launcher, and a lightweight lift launcher.

The heavy lift is the Ariane 5 in its various versions, and is capable of lifting not just one but several huge payloads either to low earth orbit or to geosynchronous (transfer) orbit. Ariane will launch the Galileo satellites, which are the European GPS satellites that will give Europe (and the rest of the world) global positioning that is NOT military based and NOT owned and controlled by the increasingly unpredictable USA. The Ariane 5 is also responsible of launching the ATV, which is like an oversized (3x more cargo capacity) Progress cargo ship. The ATV will be able to ferry large loads of cargo to the ISS. The Ariane, Galileo and the ATV are all European technology.

The medium lift technology has been missing. It's more suitable for launching lighter missions for very specific targets that are not shared by other probes. For example if you want to go to Mars or Venus, it's not really practical to bring along another probe that's heading for GTO. Or perhaps you want to launch something relatively small into a polar orbit, and so on. For that, Europe is using the Russian made Soyuz. The Soyuz is extremely reliable and the Russians are more than willing to cooperate, so this is great for Europe.

Finally, there's the Vega launcher (which hasn't flown yet). Vega is similar to Orbital Science's Taurus in size and style and is capable of launching small loads (up to 2000kg or so, depending on the altitude and inclination) to low earth orbit. Vega will be good for stuff like scientific missions to monitor polar ice caps, clouds, the seas, and so on. You want to be fairly low down for those kinds of missions (500 to 1000km) and your satellite won't be the size of a bus, like some of the communication satellites that Ariance 5 launches. Vega will be fully European technology, just like Ariane.

Peppe

Re:And that's why Europe uses Russian technology.. (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019386)

Man, won't someone buy those poor guys at Baikonur a decent camera! What were those shots taken with, a camera phone?

http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/venusexpress/v ex_launch_H.jpg [esa.int]

It's a question of size, not number (2, Informative)

marsperson (909862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14016617)

A lot of people here are under the impression that this is the first launch vehicle to launch two satelites at a time, but it isn't. The key words here are "mmainstream telecommunications satellite payloads". Indeed, launching more than a single satelite per launch is more or less standard fare already. Probably what is new here, is the size and weight of each of the two satelites.

About the name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14016752)

Heil Hitler! In space, just had to point out what a that the name looks like, well yeah.

Only commercial vehicle in a socialist economy (0, Flamebait)

heroine (1220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017044)

Since the Arianne ECA hasn't lifted off yet and the word "commercial" in France is a relative term, it's hard to believe it's the only commercial vehicle that can launch two telecommunications satellites.

The delta IV could lift slightly more than the Arianne ECA. Before it failed its test flight, it too was the only commercial vehicle that could launch two telecommunications satellites.

Despite the fact that u.s. is clearly inferior in this game, one has to wonder if the centralized funding of this rocket is really the most effective system considering their 10% unemployment and their riots.

Re:Only commercial vehicle in a socialist economy (1)

kylie69 (921403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017336)

Now that's what a call a "cowboy-culture" point of view.

Re:Only commercial vehicle in a socialist economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019175)

But hey some of them (because I don't want to generalize) are hated because their freedom... .

Re:Only commercial vehicle in a socialist economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14017992)

As far as I know, the ESA is the only space agency that actually makes money, instead of just throwing away huge sums.

Oh and next time, try to read the headline when you don't know how to write "Ariane".

Re:Only commercial vehicle in a socialist economy (1)

szaz (890101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018217)

You stupid tit.... French unemployment is absolutly irrelevant! And what the hell do you mean by centralised funding? As far as I know, all funding for space flight comes from a centralised source.... a bank. Come on dude... don't let your side down with crap posts.

How will Fance keep the rocket from being burned (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14017077)

I hope the rocket gets off the ground before the rioters set it on fire...

You figure that France would have learnt the lesson of appeasement after the second world war... I guess not..

Not to be confused with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14017123)

AryanSpace, Motto:"In the race for space, there can be only one"

Great idea (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017128)

It's a great idea. I hope it works - if it doesn't, then they trash not just one, but two Very Expensive(tm) communications satellites. I know testing rockets like this is expensive, but in the face of destroying expensive satellites, I think the cost of test launches with dummy payloads is well worth it. Based on the article, it looks like the test launch is a real mission with real Very Expensive(tm) payloads, an insurance claim waiting to happen. I'm sure that being a private company handling expensive payloads they're listening to their engineers, but wouldn't it still be use for the test launch to not carry clients' payloads?

also of note (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017457)

Sea launch http://www.sea-launch.com/ [sea-launch.com] successfully launched an almost 6,000kg EADS-built satellite to orbit for Inmarsat.

Sea Launch continues their record of being one of the most (the most?) reliable satellite launching system and the most cost-effective.

And they also show that despite what other posters have said, the US is not far behind in this area.

But note that Sea Launch isn't an American company only. In fact, their successes have been atop Russian and Russian-derived launch vehicles.

Russians, Chinese and the rest of the world vs. US (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017587)

And they also show that despite what other posters have said, the US is not far behind in this area.

snigger....

But note that Sea Launch isn't an American company only. In fact, their successes have been atop Russian and Russian-derived launch vehicles. Ah, you have it there. Sea Launch vehicles are completely built and operated by russians. Even worse, Russian technicians are not allowed to see the payload being mounted to the rocket because "They might steal the technology". What technology? For 40 years Russians managed to send humans to space only with four deaths in very experimental vehicles (Soyuz 1 - First Soyuz ever and Soyuz 11, first Salyut crew). They had a perfect safety record since then. Americans have a lot to learn from Russians. The rest of the world (i.e., Chinese, Europeans, Indians) is just accepting this as a fact and cooperating with Russians. What are Americans doing? Their Congress is banning NASA to buy seats from Russians to send Americans to Orbit just because Russians are trading with other countries which happen to be trying to have a nuclear bomb, forgetting the fact that the most number of usable chemical, nuclear and biological weapons actually belong to USA.

don't forget (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019169)

Valentin Bondarenko who died in a simulator accident in 1961. Oh, and they didn't admit it until 1986. And 50 people who died fueling a Vostok rocket to accept a military satellite in 1980. And we didn't find out about that for more than 5 years.

Let me just say I don't have much reason to believe there weren't additional deaths too.

But I don't understand, is this some kind of contest? Should I be picking on the Russians for knocking off the US space shuttle in making the Buran? Is using Russian rocket parts because they work well stupid? No? Then why don't Americans deserve credit for doing so?

I do agree the part about the Russians not being able to see the satellites is a bit odd. A few years ago I would have said it was stupid. But things have regressed a lot under Putin, I'm starting to wonder if we shouldn't be a bit more careful with respect to the Russians.

Anyway, as another poster mentioned, the US has some other things to crow about too when it comes to launching satellites besides Sea Launch.

Re:also of note (1)

O2H2 (891353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017779)

The simplest, most capable, most flexible and most reliable commercial launch vehicle is the Atlas with 77 consecutive successful launches. Atlas can also lift multiple payloads but there is very little call for this sort of stuff. That is because the vehicle can be efficiently reconfigured to match the desired payload mass and orbital energy. The Ariane V is unable to do that and hence they MUST double manifest to be competitive. The following link illustrates current Atlas V capability.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_V_rocket [wikipedia.org]

The Atlas is unmatched in cost per pound to LEO for any launch vehicle built by people who are paid more than $10K a year. The Russian launch vehicles: the Proton and Zenit (Sea Launch ) are certainly cheaper because they are put together by third world countries. They are NOT cheaper because they are simpler or superior technology- on the contrary they contain far more elements, individual engines and in the case of the Proton require multiple burns of the upper stage just to get to GTO. None have any capabilty to GSO. Atlas and Centaur have had that capability - to put the payload in the FINAL position for decades.

The Ariane V ECA is a desperate attempt to become competitive in the world arena. The overall rocket concept was poor and represents a classic point-design. Very limited for anything other than a single mission type. This is weird since the Ariane IV was a truly classic design. Flexible with regard to payload mass at least.

POSTPONED (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017474)

Hah! So I'm a few hours late, and I click on the link in the top and..


The launch of Arianespace's heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA is postponed

A problem encountered during final preparations of the Ariane 5 ECA launcher has resulted in a postponement of the dual-satellite mission scheduled for this evening.

postponed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14017478)

problem with the device - launch postponed.

Postponed (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017481)

This just in from the Arianespace website [arianespace.com] :

"A problem encountered during final preparations of the Ariane 5 ECA launcher has resulted in a postponement of the dual-satellite mission scheduled for this evening.

A new date will be announced in the next few hours."

not really news (1)

six (1673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017690)

according to wikipedia, the Ariane 5 ECA launcher alredy made its first successful flight on february, also it did launch 3 satellites at a time during this flight ...

Technical Difficulties (3, Funny)

Alderin1 (921899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017692)

According to an inside source, the postponement came as a result of several of their servers becoming overwhelmed causing shutdown, when the news was posted on a very popular "Geek" website known as Slashdot.

Whoops, misread that as aryanspace... (0, Flamebait)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14017836)

I was visualizing a myspace.com type site targetted at White Supremacists.
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