Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rolls out to the launch zone for tomorrow’s dual-passenger mission
Ariane 5 is now at the ELA-3 launch complex for its December 4 mission in service of two long-standing Arianespace customers: DIRECTV and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
During activity at the Spaceport today, the workhorse heavy-lift vehicle – with its DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 dual-passenger payload – was transferred atop its mobile launch table from the Final Assembly Building to the dedicated Ariane 5 launch zone.
Designated Flight VA221 in the company’s numbering system, Arianespace’s sixth heavy-lift mission of the year is scheduled to lift off tomorrow during a 1-hr., 10-min. launch window that opens at 5:38 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
As the seventh satellite to be lofted by Arianespace with a DIRECTV payload, DIRECTV-14 is the mission’s upper passenger and will be released first in the flight sequence at nearly 28 minutes after liftoff. Built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral), DIRECTV-14 is a 20-kilowatt class Ka-band and reverse-band digital broadcast satellite that will deliver Ultra HD and other new consumer services for DIRECTV.
GSAT-16 – which is installed in the vehicle’s lower position – will be the 18th satellite launched by Arianespace for ISRO and is to be separated at just over 32 minutes after liftoff to complete Ariane 5’s mission. Carrying Ku- and C-band transponders to further augment communication services across India, the GSAT-16 spacecraft was developed by the country’s ISRO space agency.