Pre-launch preparations are underway with Optus D3 for Ariane 5's next mission
July 23, 2009
The Optus D3 telecommunications satellite is undergoing its pre-launch checkout at Europe’s Spaceport in preparation for an August liftoff on Arianespace’s fourth heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission of 2009.
Following its delivery to French Guiana on Tuesday, Optus D3 was transferred to the S5C hall in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility (photo at right).
Optus D3 is the latest geostationary-orbit telecom satellite developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation for Optus Networks in Sydney, Australia. It will provide Ku-band communications for direct television broadcasting, Internet, telephony, and data transmission to Australia and New Zealand – expanding coverage at the same orbital slot as Orbital’s earlier Optus C1 satellite, located at 156 deg. East Longitude.
Based on Orbital’s STAR bus, Optus D3 carries a total of 32 transponders and is among the most powerful geostationary orbit telecom satellites ever built by this U.S. satellite manufacturer. Optus D3 is to generate approximately five kilowatts of payload power, with a mission design lifetime of 15 years. Its mass at liftoff will be approximately 2,500 kg.
Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 flight will carry a pair of U.S.-built spacecraft to be operated by two Asia-Pacific operators. In addition to Orbital’s Optus D3 for Australia’s Optus, the mission will loft JCSAT-12 – which was produced by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems for Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.
JCSAT-12 also is being processed in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation center, having been delivered to the French Guiana launch site earlier this month.