The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s January 27 year-opening mission is delivered to the Final Assembly Building
Ariane 5 is on the move as launcher and payload preparations continue in French Guiana for Arianespace’s first flight of 2016, which will orbit the initial EpicNG high-throughput satellite for global operator Intelsat.
The heavy-lift vehicle for this upcoming mission – designated Flight VA228 – is now located inside the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building following its transfer by rail from the Launcher Integration Building atop a mobile launch table.
With Ariane 5 now under Arianespace’s responsibility, the launcher is in position to receive its Intelsat 29e payload – which will be followed by final verifications and subsequent rollout to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 complex for a January 27 liftoff.
Intelsat 29e’s own preparations are advancing in parallel activity at the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing building. Having already completed its initial check-out process inside this state-of-the-art facility’s S5C clean room, the Boeing-built satellite is now being transferred to the S5A fueling and integration hall.
As the first of the Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellites, Intelsat 29e will have one of the most advanced digital payloads commercially available – delivering enterprise-grade, broadband services to fixed and mobile network operators, aero and maritime mobility service providers, and government customers operating throughout the Americas.
Intelsat 29e also has the distinction of being a solo telecommunications satellite on a dedicated Ariane 5 flight – which is in contrast to the typical two-passenger configuration for this launcher on missions to geostationary transfer orbit.
The January 27 liftoff will kick off another busy year of mission activity for Arianespace, which is targeting a 2016 performance of up to 11 flights using its full launcher family – consisting of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega – in side-by-side operation at the Spaceport.
Download a larger version of this story’s photos in the Gallery.