It now appears that the launch this evening was at least partially successful as announced by Arianespace, however, at present, we don’t know for certain if the satellites were deployed to the correct orbits or not.
Arianespace confirms the SES 14 and Al Yah 3 communications satellites are in contact with their ground teams after their release into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket. The exact parameters of their orbits have not been confirmed. https://t.co/k3yOZorE7F
— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) January 26, 2018
SES made the following announcement, based on this it does appear that the Ariane 5 delivered the satellites into a lower than expected orbit, in the SES press release they announced that the spacecraft would require an additional four weeks to reach the desired orbit and would use its electric propulsion system to get there.
SES announces it has successfully established connection with SES-14 and that the spacecraft is in good health and on track despite launch anomaly experienced on @Arianespace https://t.co/IWmEuY5Uoq pic.twitter.com/mu0AxVtnWM
— SES (@SES_Satellites) January 26, 2018
We don’t know what impact this will have on the Al Yah 3 satellite that uses the traditional chemical-based propulsion to reach it’s desired orbit before switching to an electric system for station keeping.
We will update the article when further news is available.