Mission Update

Mission Update

The go-ahead is given for Arianespace's heavy-lift launch on Friday with JCSAT-12 and Optus D3

August 19, 2009

Arianespace’s fourth heavy-lift flight of 2009 has been authorized for its August 21 liftoff following today’s launch readiness review at the Spaceport in French Guiana.

JCSAT-12 and Optus D3 are depicted on the cover art for this flight’s official launch kit.  Also included are scenes that represent the Japanese and Australian customers to be served by the Arianespace mission.

The review is performed prior to each Ariane 5 mission, ensuring that the launch vehicle and its payload are flight-ready, along with the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.
This go-ahead clears the way for Arianespace’s remaining preparation milestones, beginning with the rollout of Ariane 5 tomorrow from its Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone.  On launch day Friday, the countdown will start 11 hrs. 30 min. before liftoff, followed by the fueling of Ariane 5’s cryogenic main and upper stages, as well as a weather check and initiation of the final synchronized sequence.

The Ariane 5 is to lift off at the start of a one-hour launch window, which opens at 7:09 p.m. local time in French Guiana.

Integrated on the Ariane 5 is a pair of U.S.-built commercial telecommunications satellites for two key Arianespace customers in the Asia-Pacific region.  They will be injected into geostationary transfer orbits during a flight lasting just over 34 minutes.

Riding in the upper position on Ariane 5’s dual-payload “stack” is JCSAT-12, which is to be operated by Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.  Weighing approximately 4,000 kg. at liftoff, the spacecraft was produced by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems and carries 30 Ku-band transponders plus 12 C-band transponders.

The high-power JCSAT-12 will serve as the successor to JCSAT-R – which currently is in geostationary orbit as a backup relay platform for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.

Located in the lower slot of Ariane 5’s payload stack is Optus D3, a platform manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corporation for the Australian Optus telecommunications provider.  This 2,500-kg. spacecraft carries 32 Ku-band transponders for fixed communications and direct television broadcasting services to Australia and New Zealand. 

Arianespace is targeting a total of seven Ariane 5 flights in 2009, making it the busiest year with this workhorse launch vehicle since its commercial introduction in 1999.

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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