Final countdown underway for Arianespace’s Ariane 5 launch with THOR 7 and SICRAL 2
Arianespace has begun the final countdown for today’s heavy-lift dual-payload flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, following the Ariane 5’s return to its launch zone.
Liftoff is scheduled during a launch window that opens at 4:37 p.m. local time, with the THOR 7 satellite being released approximately 28 minutes into the flight, and the second passenger – SICRAL 2 – deployed some six minutes later.
THOR 7 was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operation by Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, and it will serve the maritime sector – offering high-powered coverage over the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the Red Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. Also incorporated in this relay platform is a Ku-band payload for broadcast and television services in Central and Eastern Europe.
SICRAL 2 is a military telecommunications satellite developed in the framework of a turnkey contract that the Italian Defense Ministry and the French DGA armament agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement) have with Thales Alenia Space Italy, while Telespazio is responsible for the launch service. After its deployment by Ariane 5, SICRAL 2 will provide strategic and tactical telecommunications links for French and Italian military forces, as well as reserve capacity for other NATO nations.
Today’s mission will be the 78th Ariane 5 launch overall, as well as the third flight of an Arianespace launcher family member in 2015.