Ariane 5 arrives at the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for payload installation
Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 for launch during 2013 is now set to receive its two satellite passengers after this heavy-lift vehicle’s transfer to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building in French Guiana.
The Ariane 5 rolled out this week from the Launcher Integration Building – where its core cryogenic stage, two solid boosters and cryogenic upper stage were assembled by prime contractor Astrium Space Transportation – to the Final Assembly Building for delivery to Arianespace.
Now under Arianespace’s responsibility, the Ariane 5 is positioned for integration of its ASTRA 5B and Amazonas 4A payloads – which will be followed by the final verifications and subsequent transfer to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone for a December liftoff.
This upcoming mission is designated Flight VA216 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the 216th liftoff of an Ariane since this series of vehicles began operation in 1979.
ASTRA 5B – the upper passenger in Ariane 5’s payload “stack” – was built by Astrium for Luxembourg-based SES. Once in orbit, it will extend the operator’s transponder capacity and geographic reach over Eastern European and neighboring markets for direct-to-home, direct-to-cable and contribution feeds to digital terrestrial television networks.
With an estimated liftoff mass of 5,800 kg., ASTRA 5B also carries a hosted L-band payload for the European Commission’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and will operate from an orbital position of 31.5 deg. East.
Ariane 5’s lower passenger, the Orbital Sciences Corporation-produced Amazonas 4A, is to enhance Spanish operator HISPASAT’s relay capacity over Latin America to provide an extended range of communications and television services.
Amazonas 4A – which is to weigh approximately 3,000 kg. at liftoff – will be located at a 61 deg. West orbital slot following its deployment by Ariane 5, positioning this telecommunications platform for coverage across the entire American continent, along with Europe and North Africa.