Final countdown is underway for tonight’s Ariane 5 flight with two Asia-Pacific commercial satellites
Arianespace’s latest Ariane 5 mission – to loft MEASAT-3b for MEASAT and Optus’ Optus 10 – has entered its final countdown phase at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
The company’s heavy-lift workhorse is scheduled to liftoff this evening from the ELA-3 launch complex with its dual-passenger payload during a launch window that opens at 6:21 p.m. local time and lasts until 7:23 p.m.
Designated Flight VA218 in Arianespace’s numbering system, today’s mission with MEASAT-3b and Optus 10 is the 75th launch of an Ariane 5 to date and the vehicle’s fourth liftoff this year.
Ariane 5 will loft approximately 10,090 kg. on today’s flight – including the dual-passenger payload and its associated hardware – releasing MEASAT-3b nearly 27 minutes after liftoff, which is to be followed by Optus 10’s deployment some seven-and-a-half minutes later.
With a mass of some 5,900 kg., MEASAT-3b – built by Airbus Defence and Space – will expand direct-to-home and VSAT (very small aperture terminal) services across Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Australia for Malaysian-based MEASAT.
Australia’s Optus will deploy the SSL (Space Systems/Loral)-built Optus 10, which has a mass of approximately 3,270 kg., to provide direct TV broadcast, Internet connectivity, telephone and data transmission services for Australia, New Zealand and the Antarctic region.