Spaceport introduction > S5 satellite preparation facility
The massive S5 satellite preparation building is Arianespace’s answer to the growing size of satellite payloads, as well as customer requirements for more efficient, cost effective and faster-paced launch campaigns.
Operational at the Spaceport since April 2001, the S5 facility enables a satellite’s full preparation process – including checkout, fueling and final pre-launch validation – to be performed under one roof in clean room conditions.
With the S5 complex, Arianespace is able to process the largest and most complex spacecraft currently being built and on the drawing boards, while ensuring a rapid launch campaign for even the biggest payloads.
The S5 facility is composed of three primary preparation halls (S5A, S5B and S5C), along with the transfer corridors that connect these halls, plus customer offices and control rooms.
A versatile and totally secure payload processing center, the S5 facility offers increased operational flexibility for customers while reducing the timeline for a typical payload processing campaign by approximately 10 percent.
In addition to its three large payload preparation halls, the S5 building also has all of the office space and equipment set-up areas needed by satellite processing teams. A modern high-speed communications network is installed for users, and the large customer offices provide secure access any time during the satellite preparation campaign.
Customer teams and site support personnel operate from the same facilities in the S5 building throughout the campaign – beginning with the satellite’s arrival at the Spaceport through its launch.
The S5 location was carefully chosen within the Spaceport’s controlled boundaries for accessibility and safety. It is easily reached – situated only 8 km. from the Ariane 5 launch zone, and 10 km. from the city of Kourou. The facility is open at all times, unaffected by operational constraints during launches. Its location is separate from the Spaceport’s other industrial sites and is positioned outside of any possible launch vehicle impact zones, eliminating the need for precautionary evacuation of personnel during launches.
By design, the S5 complex enables multiple payloads to be processed in parallel with total confidentiality. All types of satellites – including telecommunications, scientific, and military payloads – can be handled in a seamless operational environment.
S5A: The fueling and integration hall
The 300-sq.meter S5A fueling hall – situated in the center of the S5 facility – incorporates the protection necessary to allow spacecraft fueling without interrupting satellite processing activities in the adjacent S5B and S5C high bays.
Monitoring of the fueling process is performed from remote consoles in the S5 complex.
Two dedicated storage rooms have a capacity of up to four metric tons of propellant.
A large airlock on the S5A hall allows the Spaceport’s CCU3 container to dock directly with the facility.
This enables fueled payloads to be loaded on an air cushion pallet into the container for transfer over to the Ariane 5 final assembly building, where the satellites are installed on the heavy-lift launch vehicle.
The S5B is a dual-function hall capable of handling both satellite integration and fueling.
Its 400 sq.-meter clean room is sized for the fueling of any type of geostationary spacecraft and Sun-synchronous platform, as well as large low-Earth spacecraft (including the Automated Transfer Vehicle that services the International Space Station).
The S5B has two storage areas for up to 4 metric tons of propellant, with the ability to accommodate up to 10 metric tons for payloads such as the Automated Transfer Vehicle.
A large airlock in the S5B hall provides direct access to the outside, and is sized to accommodate the Spaceport’s CCU3 container.
S5C: The large preparation hall
The S5C high bay is the largest of the S5 facility’s preparation halls. This clean room can be configured either as a single 700-sq. meter area for modular spacecraft and very large platforms, or two as 350-sq. meter zones with independent access to accommodate two separate satellites.
It has a large main airlock for the handling of large containers, plus a transit hall and air-conditioned storage area for customer equipment.
Four equipment rooms are available for customers to install their satellite checkout and control consoles, with connections running to all of the preparation hall areas within the S5 facility. Enhanced uninterruptible power supplies (30 KVA) ensure continuous operation.
The SC5 area also includes four dedicated office areas (265 sq. meters each) with meeting rooms and independent, secure access.
S5 internal transfer corridors
Internal transfer corridors run the length of the S5 facility, providing a large passageway with clean room conditions that connect the S5A, S5B and S5C halls.
The corridors are 12 meters high and 8 meters wide, allowing for quick and safe transfer of spacecraft from preparation areas to the fueling halls without the need to place payloads in protective containers.
Segmentation of the corridors enables satellites to be transferred in complete security, independent of activity in any other area of the S5 building.
CCU3 spacecraft transportation container
The large CCU3 spacecraft container is used for the transfer of empty and fueled spacecraft between facilities at the Spaceport.
It docks to the outside of the airlock doors on the S5A, S5B and S5C halls, making contact with an inflatable airtight seal. Satellites are moved into and out of the container on an air cushion pallet.
The CCU3 container meets customer requirements for temperature control, shock protection and other conditions during the transfer of payloads.