A double arrival for Arianespace’s next dual-payload Ariane 5 mission
The two Lockheed Martin-built satellites for Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 dual-payload mission are now at the Spaceport for a fast-paced launch campaign that will lead to the orbiting of JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2 from French Guiana on May 15.
Both spacecraft arrived yesterday aboard an Antonov An-124 cargo jetliner, which touched down at Cayenne’s Rochambeau International Airport on a charter flight from the United States. VINASAT-2 and JCSAT-13 were then transferred by road to the Spaceport, where they were readied for their pre-launch checkout.
The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s upcoming flight is transferred from the Launcher Integration Building (visible in the background) to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for integration of its VINASAT-2 and JCSAT-13 satellite payloads.
Both satellites are to be launched by Arianespace for repeat customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
JCSAT-13 will be utilized by SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, the broadcasting and communications services provider created through the merger of JSAT Corporation, SKY Perfect Communications, Inc., and Space Communications Corporation. Arianespace’s most recent mission with a satellite for this operator was BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R, orbited last August by an Ariane 5.
VINASAT-2 is to serve the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), and follows Arianespace’s launch of VINASAT-1 as Vietnam’s first communications satellite – which was lofted by an Ariane 5 in April 2008.
In related activity, the Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s May 15 flight was transferred yesterday from the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building – where it was assembled, to the Final Assembly Building – where the VINASAT-2 and JCSAT-13 will be installed.
This mission marks Arianespace’s second Ariane 5 flight of 2012, and comes after the heavy-lift workhorse’s March 23 orbiting of Europe’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for resupply of the International Space Station. The May 15 flight will be the 206th liftoff of an Ariane-series launch vehicle, and it therefore carries the VA206 designation in Arianespace’s numbering system for its launcher family, consisting of Ariane 5, the medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega.