Mission Update

Mission Update

Ariane 5 is ready for this week's heavy-lift launch with JCSAT-12 and Optus D3

August 17, 2009

Arianespace has completed the payload integration on its fourth Ariane 5 to be launched in 2009, clearing the way for this vehicle’s liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana on Friday, August 21.

The heavy-lift Ariane 5 has been fitted with its dual payload “stack” of the JCSAT-12 and Optus D3 telecommunications satellites, and is being readied for a rollout to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone on August 20. 

Payload stack integration was completed with installation of the launch vehicle’s upper component containing JCSAT-12, which has been mounted atop the SYLDA dispenser and encapsulated inside Ariane 5’s payload fairing.  This combination was positioned over Optus D3, which previously was mated to the top of Ariane 5’s core stage.

(In the photo at right, Ariane 5’s payload fairing with JCSAT-12 and the SYLDA dispenser is partly visible as it is lowered into position over Optus D3, which is installed atop the launcher.  The activity is monitored by mission team members, who are located on one of the removable work stands that surround the Ariane 5.  Seen just below this work stand is the Ariane 5’s cryogenic upper stage, which will be fed by the two yellow-colored propellant arms that extend from the mobile launch table’s umbilical mast).

The Ariane 5 is now undergoing its final checkout inside the launcher Final Integration Building, setting the stage for the launch readiness review on Wednesday, August 19.   With a successful conclusion of this review, Ariane 5 will be transferred to the ELA-3 launch zone on the following day, enabling the final countdown to begin for Friday’s liftoff during a one-hour launch window that opens at 7:09 p.m. local time in French Guiana.

For this latest Ariane 5 mission, Arianespace will orbit a pair of U.S.-manufactured spacecraft for two of its key Asia-Pacific customers.

To be deployed first during the flight sequence is JCSAT-12, which is riding as the Ariane 5’s upper passenger, and has a liftoff mass of approximately 4,000 kg.   Built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems in Newtown, Pennsylvania, JCSAT-12 will be operated by Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.  It is to serve as the successor to JCSAT-R – which currently is in geostationary orbit as a backup relay platform.  JCSAT-12 is a high-power spacecraft based on Lockheed Martin’s A2100AX satellite bus, and is equipped with 30 Ku-band transponders plus 12 C-band transponders.

Optus D3 was produced by Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation for the Australian Optus telecommunications provider.  Based on Orbital’s STAR™ spacecraft bus, the 2,500-kg. Optus D3 carries 32 Ku-band transponders for fixed communications and direct television broadcasting services to Australia and New Zealand.

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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