Payload integration is completed for Arianespace’s Ariane 5 flight on September 11
The heavy-lift Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s next mission from French Guiana is now complete following integration of its full payload “stack,” consisting of the MEASAT-3b and Optus 10 commercial telecommunications satellites.
Encapsulated by an ogive-shaped protective fairing, MEASAT-3b was lowered into place yesterday over its Optus 10 co-passenger – which had been installed atop Ariane 5’s cryogenic core stage during earlier activity.
During integration activity at the Spaceport, the protective fairing containing MEASAT-3b is positioned over Optus 10 – after which it was lowered over the telecommunications satellite to create Ariane 5’s dual-payload “stack.”
This latest preparation milestone clears the way for final steps that will include functional tests, launch rehearsal and launch vehicle arming – to be followed by the readiness review and rollout to the Spaceport’s launch zone for a liftoff on September 11.
As the upper payload in Ariane 5’s stack, MEASAT-3b will be released first in the flight sequence. This relay platform – which was manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space for operation by MEASAT – is equipped with 48 high-power Ku-band transponders to expand direct-to-home broadcasting and VSAT (very small aperture terminal) services across Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia.
Optus 10 is to be deployed from the launcher’s lower passenger position, with its separation to follow that of MEASAT-3b. Built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for Australian telecommunications service provider Optus, the spacecraft is outfitted with 24 Ku-band transponders to provide direct TV broadcast, internet connectivity, telephone and data transmission services for Australia and New Zealand.
Designated Flight VA218 in Arianespace’s numbering system, this upcoming mission will be the fourth Ariane 5 launch from the Spaceport in French Guiana during 2014.