Arianespace’s Ariane 5 flight with Alphasat and INSAT-3D enters its final countdown
The final countdown is underway this afternoon for Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 launch of 2013, which will orbit Europe’s Alphasat and India’s INSAT-3D spacecraft.
Arianespace’s heavy-lift workhorse Ariane 5 is shown at the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone, ready for today’s mission that will orbit two passengers: Europe’s Alphasat and India’s INSAT-3D.
Fueling of the heavy-lift workhorse has now been authorized, following a review of weather conditions at the Spaceport in French Guiana – clearing the way for today’s flight.
This Ariane 5 mission – with a payload lift performance set at 9,760 kg. – will be conducted from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex and will deploy its two passengers during a flight sequence lasting nearly 33 minutes.
Europe’s Alphasat – which is riding in the top position of the payload “stack” – will separate first, some 27 minutes after liftoff. This spacecraft results from a public-private partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and operator Inmarsat, evolved under ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program.
As the first flight model in Europe’s Alphabus high-capacity platform, Alphasat will operate from a 25 deg. East orbital slot, providing voice and data transmission services across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
At almost 33 minutes after liftoff, the mission’s lower passenger, INSAT-3D, will be deployed. This satellite was developed by India’s Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) space agency and its ISRO Space Applications Centre, and will provide meteorological observation and monitoring of the land/ocean surfaces from an 82 deg. East orbital position, covering the entire Indian subcontinent.