Successful launch of MSG-2
December 23rd 2005
MSG-2 was launched at 22:33 UTC from the European Spaceport in Kourou on December 21st aboard an Ariane 5 launcher. Also on board was co-passenger INSAT-4A - a multi purpose Indian geostationary satellite.
The launch which was timed to the second as scheduled was faultless and MSG-2 was injected into geostationary transfer orbit [GTO] 36 minutes after lift-off. MSG-2 then came under the control of ESOC in Darmstadt.
GEO spoke to the MSG-2 Flight Director on Friday 23rd of December just prior to the first of 4 apogee motor firings to steer the craft from GTO into a geostationary orbit. MSG-2 at that time was in an elliptical orbit 36,000 km x 600 km with an inclination of 4 deg. The further three firings of apogee motor would be initiated during later orbits and the final firing would be for 'fine tuning.'
ESOC are also responsible for the jettisoning of the SEVIRI radiometer and cooler covering and these 'bits' will then orbit the Earth around 200 km below the geostationary belt. ESOC will also be responsible for the initial satellite decontamination phase before handing control of MSG-2 over to EUMETSAT on January 2nd 2006 for spacecraft commissioning to commence.