Mission Update

Mission Update

Payload integration is completed with NSS-12 and THOR 6 for Ariane 5’s next mission

October 22, 2009

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s October 29 mission is now complete following the installation of its second payload – the NSS-12 satellite for telecommunications operator SES WORLD SKIES.

The payload fairing containing SES WORLD SKIES’ NSS-12 satellite reaches the Final Assembly Building’s upper level for its installation over the THOR 6 relay platform for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting.  THOR 6 was previously integrated on the Ariane 5 launcher, and is partly visible in the foreground.

Encapsulated in an ogive-shaped protective fairing, NSS-12 was mated atop Ariane 5, positioning it as the launch vehicle’s upper passenger.  Located below it in the launcher payload “stack” is the mission’s lower passenger, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting’s THOR 6 relay platform.

This integration activity took place in the Final Assembly Building at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, enabling a last series of preparation milestones to begin – including the launch readiness review on October 27, followed by Ariane 5’s rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone on the next day and the countdown to an October 29 evening liftoff during a 40-minute launch window that opens at 5:00 p.m. local time in French Guiana.

Ariane 5 is to deliver a payload lift performance of 9,515 kg. during the upcoming mission, which includes a combined total of about 8,700 kg. for the NSS-12 and THOR 6 spacecraft, plus the launch vehicle’s dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.

NSS-12 was produced in the United States by Space Systems/Loral based on its SS/L 1300 platform, and weighs approximately 5,700 kg. for liftoff.   The powerful spacecraft is outfitted with 48 active Ku-band transponders and 40 C-band transponders, and will be operated by SES WORLD SKIES from a geostationary orbit of 57 degrees East – providing direct-to-home television broadcast services for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.

THOR 6 will be the first satellite launched by Arianespace for Telenor Satellite
Broadcasting AS, a subsidiary of the Norwegian operator Telenor.  This 3,000-kg. payload was built in Europe by Thales Alenia Space using a Spacebus 4000B2 platform, and carries 36 Ku-band transponders.  It will be positioned at 1 degree West, and is to distribute direct-to-home services to the Nordic region and throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

The October 29 mission is Arianespace’s sixth flight of 2009, and will be followed by the seventh launch with an Ariane 5 that currently is being readied in the Launcher Integration Building at the Spaceport.

Launch Window for the NSS-12 and THOR 6 mission

Universal time (GMT)

Paris, France

Kourou, French Guiana

Washington, D.C., USA

Between 8:00 p.m.
and 9:40 p.m.on
October 29, 2009

Between 9:00 p.m.
and 10:40 p.m. on
October 29, 2009

Between 5:00 p.m.
and 6:40 p.m. on
October 29, 2009

Between 4:00 p.m.
and 5:40 p.m. on
October 29, 2009


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