Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 for launch in 2016 is assembled at the Spaceport
The launcher for Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 mission of 2016 has begun its build-up at the Spaceport in French Guiana, initiating preparations for an early June liftoff with the Echostar 18 and BRIsat telecommunications satellites.
During activity in the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, the vehicle’s cryogenic main stage was positioned over one of two operational launch tables for Ariane 5, followed by the integration of its two solid propellant boosters.
The next step will be installation of Ariane 5’s “upper composite,” composed of the ESC-A cryogenic upper stage and vehicle equipment bay.
When this integration – performed under responsibility of industrial prime contractor Airbus Safran Launchers – is completed, the Ariane 5 will be ready for its transfer to the Final Assembly Building, where Arianespace oversees the payload integration, final checkout and the launch operations.
The upcoming flight will be Ariane’s 230th mission
Arianespace’s June mission is designated Flight VA230 in the company’s launcher family numbering system, representing the 230th liftoff of an Ariane vehicle since the family of European launchers entered service in 1979. It will deliver the two passengers into geostationary transfer orbit.
Both the EchoStar XVIII and BRIsat satellites to be lofted by Flight VA230 are relay platforms built by SSL, which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of geostationary commercial satellites. More than 50 SSL-built spacecraft have been launched by Arianespace to date.
EchoStar XVIII will be operated U.S.-based EchoStar Satellite Services, a provider of video distribution, data communications and backhaul services for media and broadcast organizations, direct-to-home providers, enterprise customers and government service providers.
BRIsat is to serve Indonesia’s PT. Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. – also known as BRI – and the launch will make it one of the world’s first banks with a communications satellite. BRIsat has been designed to operate as a dedicated platform for banking connection services across the Indonesian archipelago.