Arianespace’s Ariane 5 mission with Sky Muster and ARSAT-2 enters its final countdown
The final countdown is underway for Arianespace’s ninth mission in 2015, which will utilize a workhorse Ariane 5 launcher to orbit telecommunications satellites for Australia and Argentina.
Today’s liftoff from the Spaceport is scheduled during a one-hour, 45-minute window that opens at 5:30 p.m. local time in French Guiana – with Australia’s Sky Muster being released nearly 28 minutes into the flight and Argentina’s ARSAT-2 deployed 32 minutes after launch.
Total payload lift performance for the mission is over 10,200 kg. – a total that includes the two satellite passengers, plus the Ariane 5 launcher’s dual-payload dispenser system and integration hardware.
As the initial spacecraft to be orbited by Arianespace for nbnTM, Sky Muster will deliver broadband services to more than 200,000 rural and remote Australians, providing coverage across the country – including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands. Sky Muster was produced by SSL (Space Systems Loral).
ARSAT-2 – built under the responsibility Argentina’s INVAP – will be operated by the state-owned Argentinian operator ARSAT to provide direct-to-home television (DTH), Internet access services for reception on VSAT antennas, along with data transmission and IP telephony.
Today’s launch – designated Flight VA226 – will maintain Arianespace’s fast-paced schedule in 2015, which forsees a total of 12 missions using its three-member launcher family. The flights performed so far this year have utilized four heavy-lift Ariane 5s, two medium-lift Soyuz vehicles and two lightweight Vega launchers.