Mission Update

Mission Update

Launcher and payload preparations advance for Arianespace’s mid-August liftoff with Ariane 5

Ariane 5 is shown during its transfer from the Launcher Assembly Building (visible in the background at right) as it moves toward the Final Assembly Building (at left). This vehicle will be used for the fourth of seven Arianespace missions planned in 2009 with Ariane 5s.

July 20, 2009

Arianespace has received its fourth Ariane 5 for launch in 2009, while the first of two payloads for this upcoming mission is now at the Spaceport for final preparation.

JCSAT-12 is raised inside the Spaceport’s satellite preparation facility following the spacecraft’s arrival in French Guiana over the weekend. Built by Lockheed Martin, JCSAT-12 will be operated by SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.

The heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA was delivered last Friday to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building by EADS Astrium – the launch vehicle’s industrial prime contractor, which was responsible for the Ariane 5’s build-up in the Launcher Integration Building.  Its transfer to the final assembly facility clears the way for Arianespace’s integration of the mission’s dual-satellite payload, followed by launch operations leading to a mid-August liftoff.

As the launch vehicle activity enters a new phase, the mission’s JCSAT-12 spacecraft has entered pre-launch checkout in the Spaceport’s payload preparation facility.   Built in the U.S. by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, JCSAT-12 arrived in French Guiana over the weekend aboard a chartered cargo jetliner. 

The high-power hybrid JCSAT-12 satellite is based on Lockheed Martin’s A2100 spacecraft bus, and carries 30 active Ku-band transponders and 12 active C-band transponders for coverage of Japan, the Asia-Pacific region and Hawaii.  It will be operated by SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation – one of Asia’s largest satellite operators, and Japan’s only provider of both multi-channel pay TV broadcasting and satellite communications services.

Joining JCSAT-12 on Arianespace’s mid-August launch will be Optus D3, an Orbital Sciences Corporation-built spacecraft for Australia’s Optus, which will handle direct TV broadcast, Internet, telephony and data transmission services across Australia and New Zealand.

Arianespace is on track for a record Ariane 5 mission pace in 2009, with seven flights planned for its workhorse vehicle.  The three Ariane 5 missions already performed this year have orbited a total of seven spacecraft with a combined payload mass of nearly 19,600 kg. 

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