Ariane 5 moves to the launch zone for Arianespace’s September 11 heavy-lift flight
Arianespace’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 workhorse is in position for tomorrow’s Flight VA218 – a dual passenger-mission for Asia-Pacific telecommunications operators MEASAT and Optus.
Ariane 5 – with its MEASAT-3b and Optus 10 payload – was transferred today on a mobile launch table from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to the dedicated ELA-3 launch complex in French Guiana, where it is scheduled for liftoff during an approximately one-hour launch window that opens at 6:21 p.m. local time.
On this mission – the 75th launch of Ariane 5 to date – the upper passenger MEASAT-3b will be deployed first in the flight sequence nearly 27 minutes after liftoff, with the separation of Optus 10 from the vehicle’s lower position occurring some seven-and-a-half minutes later.
Total payload performance for Flight VA218 is estimated at nearly 10,090 kg., which includes approximately 9,160 kg. for MEASAT-3b and Optus 10 combined, plus Ariane 5’s SYLDA dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.
MEASAT-3b, built by Airbus Defence and Space for MEASAT, will expand this Malaysian-based operator’s direct-to-home and VSAT (very small aperture terminal) services in Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Australia – operating from an orbital position of 91.5 deg. East with a design life of 15 years.
Australian-based Optus’ Optus 10 is to provide direct TV broadcast, Internet connectivity, telephone and data transmission services for Australia, New Zealand and the Antarctic region. With a design life of 15 years, this spacecraft was produced by SSL (Space System Loral) and will be positioned at 164 deg. East in orbit.