ASTRA 3B is “topped off” for Arianespace’s year-opening flight
March 3, 2010 – Ariane Flight 194
Satellite preparations for Ariane 5’s initial launch of 2010 have moved into a new phase with the fueling of ASTRA 3B – which is one of two passengers to be orbited by the heavy-lift vehicle on March 24.
Propellant loading of ASTRA 3B was performed in the Spaceport’s S5 satellite preparation facility, readying this EADS Astrium-built spacecraft for integration with its Ariane 5 ECA launcher.
ASTRA 3B is a state-of-the-art Ku- and Ka-band spacecraft designed for the distribution of both direct-to-home broadcast services and two-way broadband services across Europe and the Middle East. It will be positioned at the increasingly important 23.5 deg. East orbital position for SES ASTRA.
Based on the Eurostar E3000 satellite bus, ASTRA 3B will have a liftoff mass of 5,470 kg. and is equipped with six mission antennas – four of which are side-mounted, to be deployed in orbit. The spacecraft has been designed for a nominal lifetime of 15 years.
ASTRA 3B will be joined on the upcoming mission by COMSATBw-2, a secure relay platform that will deliver key services for the German Bundeswehr (German armed forces).
COMSATBw-2 is based on the Spacebus 3000B2 platform, and was designed, integrated and tested by satellite prime contractor Thales Alenia Space on behalf of EADS Astrium – which is the program’s space segment prime contractor.
This upcoming mission from Europe’s Spaceport is the first of seven scheduled for Ariane 5 in 2010 as Arianespace maintains the heavy-lift vehicle’s flight pace.