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Ariane 5 May 18, 2010

Ariane 5’s liftoff with ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 is set for May 21

Arianespace’s next heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission is scheduled for this Friday, May 21, carrying a mixed payload of commercial and military telecommunications satellites.

689Liftoff of the Ariane 5 ECA with its ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 spacecraft is set at the start of a launch window that opens at 7:01 p.m. local time in French Guiana and continues to 7:44 p.m.

ASTRA 3B is riding in the upper position of Ariane 5’s dual-payload “stack,” with COMSATBw-2 installed below it, housed inside a 6.4 meter-tall SYLDA 5 dispenser.  The payloads are protected by a 17-meter-tall fairing, which will be jettisoned after the launcher’s initial ascent through the atmosphere’s dense layers.

To be launched for SES ASTRA, ASTRA 3B is a state-of-the-art Ku- and Ka-band spacecraft designed for direct-to-home broadcast services and two-way broadband relay across Europe and the Middle East.  It was produced by EADS Astrium, and will be positioned at SES ASTRA’s important 23.5 deg. East orbital position.

COMSATBw-2 is designed to deliver key communications services for the German Bundeswehr (German armed forces).  Based on the Spacebus 3000B2 satellite bus, the platform was designed, integrated and tested by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of EADS Astrium – the program’s space segment prime contractor.

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