The European Space Agency's Artemis telecommunications satellite, built by Alenia Spazio, a Finmeccanica company, together with the Japanese BSAT-2B telecommunications satellite, were placed in a lower orbit than planned after a launch last night from the Kourou Space Centre with an Ariane V.
After a successful lift-off of Ariane V at the scheduled time of 18.58 (23.58 in Italy), Artemis was left stranded in a degraded orbit due to a malfunction in the launcher's upper stage. Both satellites separated on an orbit of 17,528 km apogee, 592 km perigee and 2 degrees inclination.
Technicians in Kourou and the Control Centre in Fucino are now assessing the situation and studying the options.
Artemis has been put into safe sun-pointing conditions by ground controllers. The solar panels have been partially deployed during the night as was planned for the nominal mission and are powering the satellite correctly. The spacecraft is fully under control and is being monitored by ground stations around the world. The Italian-built advanced data relay and telecommunications satellite can remain in this safe condition for as long as is needed for the ground controllers to study the best way to rescue the mission.