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