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Ariane 5 May 15, 2012

Final countdown underway for Arianespace’s launch with JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2

Looking upward from the launch table, Ariane 5 is shown ready for tonight’s liftoff with its JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2 payloads. The two retractable arms that extend from the table’s fixed mast (at right) supply propellant for Ariane 5’s cryogenic upper stage.

Arianespace has begun the final countdown for tonight’s Ariane 5 flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, which is to orbit a pair of relay satellites for Japan and Vietnam.

This mission will loft the JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2 satellites, delivering a total payload performance of over 8,300 kg. – which includes a combined mass of more than 7,500 kg. for the two passengers, along with the launcher’s dual-payload dispenser system and associated integration hardware.

Liftoff is scheduled during a launch window that opens at 7:13 p.m. local time in French Guiana, and continues to 9:13 p.m. JCSAT-13 is to be deployed first during the flight, released from the upper position of Ariane 5’s payload “stack” at approximately 26 minutes after liftoff, followed 10 minutes later by VINASAT-2.

Both passengers on the Ariane 5 were built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems based on the company’s A2100 platform design.

To be operated by SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, the JCSAT-13 spacecraft 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 is to serve the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), supplying fixed satellite service for Vietnam and neighboring countries.

This mission marks Arianespace’s second Ariane 5 flight of 2012, and comes after the heavy-lift workhorse’s March 23 orbiting of Europe’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for resupply of the International Space Station.

Ariane 5 May 14, 2012

Ariane 5 is moved to the launch zone for Arianespace's second heavy-lift flight of 2012

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