Alphasat is encapsulated as the upper passenger on Arianespace’s upcoming dual-payload Ariane 5 mission
The upper portion of Ariane 5’s dual-passenger “stack” has been completed, with the Alphasat satellite and SYLDA dispenser system now encapsulated inside the launcher’s payload fairing in preparation for a July 25 liftoff from French Guiana.
This encapsulation occurred in the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5, adjacent to where the launcher is waiting to receive Alphasat and the mission’s co-passenger, INSAT-3D.
The integration process’ next step will occur when INSAT-3D is positioned on the launcher’s core section as the lower payload, allowing the stack to be completed with installation of the Alphasat/SYLDA/fairing combination atop it.
During the flight sequence, the payload fairing will be jettisoned first at approximately 3 minutes into the mission, followed by deployment of Alphasat at just under 28 minutes into the flight. The SYLDA dispenser is then to be released, allowing the subsequent separation of INSAT-3D to complete the Arianespace mission 32 minutes after liftoff.
Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 mission, designated VA214 in the company’s launcher family numbering system, is scheduled on July 25 during a launch window that opens at 4:53 p.m. and continues through 6:11 p.m., local time in French Guiana.
The Alphasat passenger for this flight will have a launch mass of 6,650 kg., and it is one of the most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built. Developed by Astrium, Alphasat is configured with an advanced, new generation L-band geo-mobile communications relay system that will augment Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service – enabling increased-capacity communications across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Development of Alphasat results from a large-scale public-private partnership involving Inmarsat with the European Space Agency (ESA), and is the first flight model of Europe’s new Alphabus high capacity satellite platform.
Ariane 5’s Indian INSAT-3D co-passenger on the VA214 mission will provide enhanced meteorological observation and the monitoring of land/ocean surfaces. It was developed by the country’s Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) space agency along with its ISRO Space Applications Centre, and has a liftoff mass of approximately 2,100 kg.