Arianespace’s Ariane 5 mission with twin telecommunications satellites is approved for launch
The Ariane 5 mission with a “mirror” pair of relay satellites for Japan and Vietnam has been given the go-ahead for liftoff on May 15 from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
Approval for this flight was issued following today’s launch readiness review, which is held prior to every Ariane mission – confirming the “green” status of the Ariane 5 vehicle, its JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2 satellites, the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.
Both passengers on the Ariane 5 were built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems based on the company’s A2100 platform design – providing an unusual combination of similar satellites from a single manufacturer.
In addition, these are the 100th and 101st commercial geostationary communications satellites from Lockheed Martin since the company’s first such spacecraft was orbited in December 1975. To date, 41 Lockheed Martin payloads have been entrusted to Arianespace for its launch services.
Weighing approximately 4,530 kg. at launch, JCSAT-13 will be positioned in geostationary orbit at 124 degrees East, with a design life exceeding 15 years for the Japanese operator SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation. It is fitted with 44 Ku-band transponders and will provide direct TV broadcast links to all of Japan as a replacement satellite for JCSAT-4A, and also will meet satellite relay coverage demands in Southeast Asia.
VINASAT-2 has an estimated liftoff mass of 2,970 kg., and is fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders to provide radio, television and telephone links for all of Vietnam from its orbit of 131.8 degrees East. As with its JCSAT-13 “sister” payload on the upcoming Ariane 5 flight, VINASAT-2’s design life exceeds 15 years. This will be the second satellite launched by Ariane 5 for use by the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, following VINASAT-1 in April 2008.