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Arabsat-5A and COMS begin their preparation for Arianespace’s second Ariane 5 mission of 2010
March 15, 2010 – Ariane Flight 195
The two satellites for Arianespace’s second Ariane 5 flight of 2010 have begun their checkout at the Spaceport – which currently is hosting two parallel missions for the industry’s workhorse launch vehicle.
Both Arabsat-5A and COMS are now undergoing processing in the Spaceport’s S5 preparation facility following their deliveries to French Guiana this month.
COMS is a South Korean multi-mission spacecraft developed by EADS Astrium and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). It has the distinction of being the first European-built 3-axis stabilized geostationary observation satellite that carries payloads dedicated to meteorology applications, ocean monitoring and telecommunications.
For its weather mission, COMS’ meteorology imager will perform continuous observations of world scale meteorological phenomena from geostationary orbit, along with the monitoring of specific local weather events such as hurricanes, monsoons and sandstorms.
The COMS satellite’s oceanography duties are to be handled by a multi-band ocean color imager – which will be utilized in particular by the fishing industry to track marine ecosystem changes. In the telecommunications function, an experimental Ka-band module developed by the South Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) will help validate wide-band multi-media telecommunications services.
COMS will be accompanied on the Ariane 5 mission by Arabsat-5A – the first in a series of fifth-generation satellites for Arabsat, which is one of the Arab world’s leading satellite services providers. This spacecraft was built by an industrial team of Astrium and Thales Alenia Space acting as co-prime contractors, and will provide additional capacity at Arabsat’s 30.5 deg. East orbital position.
The Arabsat-5A platform is designed to provide a large range of satellite communications services, including television backhauling and broadcasting, telephony, business communications, Internet trunking and the provision of VSAT and other interactive services over sub-Saharan Africa, the North-Africa and Middle East (MENA) region, and beyond.
Arianespace’s mission with Arabsat-5A and COMS is planned for late April using a heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA. It will follow the March 24 launch of another dual-payload Ariane 5 ECA – carrying the ASTRA 3B telecommunications satellite for SES ASTRA and the COMSATBw-2 secure relay platform for the German Bundeswehr (armed forces) – which is entering the final preparation phase at the Spaceport.