Mission Update

Mission Update

Pre-launch processing is underway with the two payloads for Ariane 5’s upcoming launch

Both Thales Alenia Space-built satellites for Ariane 5’s next mission are shown during initial processing inside the S5B integration hall of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility. In the foreground is RASCOM-QAF1R, while Nilesat-201 is visible in the background.

July 7, 2010 – Ariane Flight 196

The Nilesat-201 and RASCOM-QAF1R satellite passengers for Arianespace’s third heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA launch of 2010 have begun final checkout in preparation for their planned August 3 liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

These spacecraft have completed the fit-check milestones, which validate the compatibility with adapters that serve as their interface for the Ariane 5’s dual-payload “stack.” 

The two satellites were produced by Thales Alenia Space, and the fit-check activity was performed with both spacecraft inside the S5B integration hall of the Spaceport’s large S5 payload preparation facility.  (Click on the images for a larger version):

The RASCOM-QAF1R satellite is moved into position over the cone-shaped adapter during its fit-check process. Based on the Spacebus 4000B3 platform, this satellite carries 24 equivalent 36-MHz transponders in both Ku-band and C-band, and will provide Africa with access to advanced communications and information technologies – in particular rural telephony – from an orbital slot of 2.9 degrees East longitude. It will be operated by RascomStar-QAF, offering coverage for the African continent, along with parts of Europe and the Middle East.

Nilesat-201 is raised for the transfer to its interface adapter in the fit-check validation procedure.  This satellite was built with a Spacebus 4000B2 platform, and is equipped with 24 Ku-band and 4 Ka-band transponders.  Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat will utilize the relay platform to deliver digital Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV and radio broadcasting, along with high-speed data transmission services, to North Africa and the Middle East.  Nilesat-201 is to be located at an orbital position of 7 degrees West longitude.

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