Mission Update

Mission Update

Optus D3 is integrated on Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s dual-passenger mission at the service of Asia-Pacific telecom operators

August 13, 2009

The first of two telecommunications satellite payloads for Arianespace’s next heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission has been installed atop its launcher as preparations move into their final phase for the August 21 flight.

Optus D3 is ready for its installation atop Ariane 5’s core stage during integration activity in the upper level of the Spaceport’s launcher Final Assembly Building.

Optus D3 was integrated on Ariane 5’s core stage during activity performed inside the launcher Final Assembly Building at the Spaceport in French Guiana.  This marks the initial step of final integration for the flight’s dual-passenger payload “stack,” in which Optus D3 is riding as the lower payload and JCSAT-12 is in the upper position.

Integration of Optus D3 on Ariane 5 clears the way for mating of the payload stack’s upper component – which consists of JCSAT-12, along with the SYLDA dual-payload dispenser system and the launch vehicle’s ogive-shaped payload fairing.

Once this work has been completed, final checkout of the Ariane 5 will be performed, followed by its rollout to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex on August 20.  The final countdown then will begin for liftoff the following day during a one-hour launch window that opens at 7:09 p.m. local time in French Guiana.

The Ariane 5’s total lift performance for the upcoming launch is approximately 7,655 kg. – with Optus D3 and JCSAT-12 weighing in at more than 6,500 kg., while the remaining mass is represented by the payload installation/interface hardware and the SYLDA dispenser.

Both satellites for this fourth Ariane 5 mission of 2009 were built by U.S. manufacturers, and are to be orbited for two of Arianespace’s key Asia-Pacific customers.

Optus D3 is a product of Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation, and will be operated by Australia’s Optus telecommunications provider.  Utilizing Orbital’s STAR™ spacecraft bus, the 2,500-kg. Optus D3 is outfitted with 32 Ku-band transponders for fixed communications and direct television broadcasting services to Australia and New Zealand.

JCSAT-12 was produced in Newtown, Pennsylvania by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, and uses the company’s A2100AX satellite bus.  Weighing in at approximately 4,000 kg. for launch, it will be operated by Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, serving as the successor to JCSAT-R – which currently is in geostationary orbit as a backup relay platform.  The high-power JCSAT-12 satellite carries 30 Ku-band transponders plus 12 C-band transponders.

Arianespace remains on track for its goal of performing seven Ariane 5 missions in 2009.  Three already have been accomplished so far this year, and the vehicle for Arianespace’s fifth flight has been built-up in the Spaceport’s Launcher Assembly Building.  It is ready to be moved into the Final Assembly Building to receive this mission’s dual-satellite payload – a step that will occur after the Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s August 21 flight is rolled out from this facility for launch.

Launch Window

Universal time (GMT)

Paris, France

Kourou, French Guiana

Washington, D.C., USA



Between 22h09 and 23h09 on August 21, 2009

00h09 and 01h09 on
August 22, 2009

07:09 p.m. and 08:09 p.m. on August 21, 2009

06:09 p.m. and 07:09 p.m. on August 21, 2009

07:09 a.m. and 08:09 a.m. on August 22, 2009

Between 08:09 a.m. and 09:09 a.m.
on August 22, 2009

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