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Ariane 5 September 27, 2016

Arianespace integrates Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18 for its upcoming Ariane 5 launch

Ariane 5 Flight VA231 payload integration

The final payload integration process for Arianespace Flight VA231 is highlighted in this photo series. At left, GSAT-18 is installed atop Ariane 5’s core stage inside the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building. At center and right, Ariane 5’s payload fairing containing the Sky Muster™ II satellite is moved into position and then lowered over GSAT-18.

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s eighth mission of 2016 is now fully assembled following this week’s integration of its two satellite passengers at the Spaceport in French Guiana.

During activity in Ariane 5’s Final Assembly Building, the upper payload component – containing Sky Muster™ II, mounted on its SYLDA dispenser system and protected by an ogive-shaped fairing – was lowered into position over GSAT-18, which was previously installed atop the launcher’s central core.

This step clears the way for final checkout, which will enable the launch readiness review to be conducted on September 30, followed by Ariane 5’s rollout to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone the following Monday, and an early evening liftoff on Tuesday, October 4.

The upcoming mission is designated Flight VA231 in Arianespace’s numbering system, and it will deliver the two telecommunications payloads into geostationary transfer orbit.

An Ariane 5 mission for Australia and India

To be deployed first during the 32-minute flight sequence is Sky Muster™ II, which was produced by SSL (Space Systems Loral) for Australian operator nbn™. Carrying Ka-band transponders and with a liftoff mass estimated at 6,400 kg., the satellite will help extend high-speed internet across Australia – including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands.

Ariane 5’s second passenger – GSAT-18 – is a 3,400-kg.-category spacecraft developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), with 12 transponders in Ku-band and another 24 in C-band. Once in orbit, it will provide telecommunications services for India – strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational satellites.

Flight VA231 will mark Arianespace’s eighth of 11 missions targeted in 2016, and is the company’s fifth this year using an Ariane 5 – which is one of three launch vehicles operated by Arianespace at the Spaceport, along with the medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega.

Ariane Flight VA231
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nbn website:

SSL website:

ISRO website:

Ariane 5 September 20, 2016

Parallel launcher and payload preparations put Ariane 5 on track for next month’s mission

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Parallel preparations for Arianespace Flight VA231’s Ariane 5 launcher, plus the Sky Muster II and GSAT-18 payloads