GSAT-17 “opens up” during testing ahead of this Indian satellite’s June 28 launch on Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission
The next launch of Arianespace’s heavy-lift Ariane 5, scheduled for June 28 from the Spaceport in French Guiana, will carry a dual payload: the Indian Space Research Organisation’s GSAT-17 communications satellite and the Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN multi-mission relay satellite for Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat.
In advance of the liftoff, GSAT-17 has been undergoing ground-based checkout activity, including the deployment of its solar panels and antenna reflectors in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility’s S5C large clean room hall.
Such deployment testing is a routine procedure with Indian satellites prior to launch. For the solar panels’ extension, an overhead latticework helped support the solar panels as they opened to their full length – simulating the zero gravity conditions in space. Upon validating the proper operation, Indian technicians stowed the panels against the satellite in their final liftoff configuration. Afterwards, the satellite’s two antenna reflectors were similarly deployed and restowed during activity in the clean room.
Launching aboard the upcoming Ariane 5 mission – designated Flight VA238 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – GSAT-17 will be deployed second in the flight sequence, following Ariane 5’s release of Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN. GSAT-17 is based on the I-3K extended spacecraft bus, with a liftoff mass set at 3,425 kg. The satellite’s relay payload is composed of Ku-band, Normal C-band and Extended C-band transponders. The satellite also carries CxS and SxC transponders as well as DRT and SAR transponders.
Arianespace is targeting a total of 12 missions in 2017 utilizing its family of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega. So far this year, the launch services company has performed six flights from the Spaceport, composed of three with Ariane 5, two utilizing Soyuz and one with Vega.
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