Ariane 5 is in the launch zone for Arianespace’s heavy-lift mission with Alphasat and INSAT-3D
Arianespace’s Ariane 5 mission with the Alphasat and INSAT-3D satellites is on track for liftoff tomorrow following the workhorse heavy-lift vehicle’s rollout to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex in French Guiana.
Mounted on the first of two large mobile launch tables in service for Ariane 5, the vehicle emerged from its Final Assembly Building this morning at 11:10 a.m. local time and arrived on the pad 40 minutes later – covering the distance at a speed of approximately 3 km./hr.
The Ariane 5 with Alphasat and INSAT-3D nears its final location on the launch pad to complete this morning’s rollout at the Spaceport.
The launcher has India’s INSAT-3D satellite installed in the lower position of its payload “stack,” with Europe’s Alphasat as the upper passenger.
The launch window opens at 4:53 p.m. and continues until 6:11 p.m. After liftoff, the flight sequence will last nearly 33 minutes, with Alphasat deployed at just under 28 minutes after launch, followed by the separation of INSAT-3D five minutes later.
Alphasat is Europe’s largest telecommunications satellite ever manufactured and results from a large-scale public-private partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Inmarsat. Built by prime contractor Astrium, it is the first flight model of Europe’s Alphabus high-capacity satellite platform, configured with a new-generation L-band geo-mobile mobile communication relay system and four technology demonstration payloads for ESA.
INSAT-3D was developed by India’s Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) space agency and its ISRO Space Applications Centre, designed to provide meteorological observation and monitoring of land/ocean surfaces. The satellite is equipped with a six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder, as well as a data relay transponder and a payload for satellite-aided search and rescue operations.
Tomorrow’ mission – designated Flight VA214 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – will be the 214th launch since operations began with the Ariane series of vehicles in 1979, as well as the 70th flight for the heavy-lift Ariane 5 version.