Initial assembly is completed for the fifth Ariane 5 to be launched in 2009
August 3, 2009
The fifth Ariane 5 for launch this year has completed its initial build-up as preparations move forward for another of Arianespace’s trademark dual-satellite payload missions.
During activity in the Launcher Integration Building at Europe’s Spaceport, this heavy-lift Ariane 5 was fitted with its ESC-A upper stage and vehicle equipment bay – which were installed as a single unit. The combined integration step is part of the streamlining introduced in Ariane 5’s build-up process to optimize the preparation workflow and accelerate Arianespace’s mission rate for its workhorse vehicle.
(In the photo at right, the ESC-A upper stage/vehicle equipment bay unit is moved toward Ariane 5 for its installation atop the launcher’s core stage).
Once additional integration and checkout steps are completed, the Ariane 5 will be ready for its transfer from the Launcher Integration Building to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building, where it will be fitted with the mission’s payload of two telecommunications satellites.
The Final Assembly Building currently is occupied by the no. 4 Ariane 5 to be launched in 2009, which is scheduled for a liftoff later this month with the Optus D3 and JCSAT-12 relay spacecraft.