Mission Update

Mission Update

Arianespace takes delivery of the sixth Ariane 5 for launch in 2009

October 12, 2009

The next Ariane 5 mission has moved into its final preparation phase as the vehicle for this sixth flight of 2009 is delivered to Arianespace, keeping the company on track for its busiest year of launch activity ever with the commercial heavy-lift workhorse.

Ariane 5’s transfer from the Launcher Integration Building to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building marked the delivery of this vehicle to Arianespace, which will oversee the integration of its dual-satellite payload.

Following its rollout from the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building in French Guiana – where the vehicle’s basic build-up was performed by prime contractor EADS Astrium Space Transportation – the Ariane 5 ECA was transferred to the Final Assembly Building, where its dual payload will be installed under Arianespace responsibility.

The mission is scheduled for liftoff late this month, carrying SES WORLD SKIES’ NSS-12 spacecraft and THOR 6 for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting.

NSS-12 was manufactured by Space Systems/Loral based on the company’s 1300 spacecraft platform and is designed to reach an estimated two-thirds of the world’s population.  As a replacement for NSS-703 at 57 deg. East, NSS-12 is to serve virtually the entire Eastern Hemisphere with its 40 C-band transponders and 48 Ku-band transponders, providing direct-to-home TV delivery power levels, as well as elaborate beam interconnectivity and C-/Ku-band cross-strapping.  

Its direct-to-home coverage will be handled through four regional Ku-band spot beams covering the Middle East and Europe, Central and South Asia and – for the first time – East Africa.  NSS-12’s high-capacity, high-power C-band hemispheric beams are configured for Europe, Africa (including Mauritius) and the Middle East, as well as an area stretching across Asia to Australia.  They will be augmented by a powerful C-band global beam that reaches from the United Kingdom to the Far East.
The second payload for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission is THOR 6, which is to deliver high-power direct-to-home television services from the 1 deg. West orbital position.  This relay platform will strengthen Telenor Satellite Broadcasting’s television broadcast coverage over Central and Eastern Europe, while also providing additional capacity in the Nordic region. 

THOR 6 is fitted 36 Ku-band transponders - 16 of which will serve the Nordic countries, while the 20 other transponders will provide capacity for the growing broadcasting demands within Central and Eastern Europe.  It is based on Thales Alenia Space’s Spacebus 4000B2 spacecraft design.

The upcoming mission with THOR 6 and NSS-12 maintains Arianespace’s sustained launch pace in 2009, during which the company plans a record seven Ariane 5 flights.  It follows the launcher’s most recent success: the October 1 flight that orbited the Amazonas 2 civilian relay platform for Spain’s HISPASAT and the German COMSATBw-1 secure military communications satellite.

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