Approval is given for Arianespace’s Ariane 5 launch with Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18
Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 flight has been authorized for liftoff on October 4 following today’s launch readiness review, which was conducted at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
This milestone confirmed that the heavy-lift launcher and its dual-satellite payload are flight-ready, along with the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.
With approval granted, Ariane 5 is cleared for its October 3 rollout from the Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone. Liftoff will occur the following day during a 1-hour, 15-minute launch window that opens at 5:30 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
Ariane 5 will deliver a lift performance of more than 10,600 kg. on the mission to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), which is designated Flight VA231. This total includes some 9,800 kg. for its Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18 satellite passengers, and also factors in the workhorse vehicle’s dual-payload deployment system and integration hardware.
Another dual-passenger launch for Ariane 5
The Sky Muster™ II satellite – which was produced by SSL (Space Systems Loral) for Australian operator nbn™ – will ride in the upper position of Ariane 5’s payload arrangement, to be deployed first during the 32-min. flight sequence.
Carrying Ka-band transponders, Sky Muster™ II reflects Australia’s commitment to bridging the digital divide, especially in its rural and isolated regions. The satellite will help extend high-speed internet to the entire country, including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands. Arianespace orbited the first Sky Muster™ spacecraft on an Ariane 5 mission performed in September 2015.
Located below Sky Muster™ II in the launcher payload arrangement is the mission’s lower passenger – GSAT-18 – which was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with 12 transponders in Ku-band and another 24 in C-band. It will provide telecommunications services for India once in its final orbit, strengthening the Indian space agency’s current fleet of 14 operational satellites.