Initial build-up is underway for Arianespace’s fifth Ariane 5 launch in 2012
The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s fifth heavy-lift mission of this year is beginning to take shape at the Spaceport as initial build-up procedures involving the workhorse vehicle are performed in French Guiana.
During activity inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, the Ariane 5’s core cryogenic stage was removed from its protective shipping container and raised into position over one of two operational mobile launch tables.
This was followed by separate rollouts of the vehicle’s two solid propellant boosters, readying them for mating to each side of the core stage. The next step will be integration of Ariane 5’s cryogenic upper stage atop the launcher – completing its initial assembly process.
To date, Arianespace’s heavy-lift workhorse has performed three missions in 2012, further extending its track record of success. In March, an Ariane 5 orbited Europe’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle for servicing of the International Space Station, while another launcher delivered a dual-passenger payload of the JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2 relay spacecraft in May. The EchoStar XVII telecommunications platform and MSG-3 meteorological satellite were orbited by an Ariane 5 earlier this month.
The next mission Ariane 5 mission is scheduled for launch on August 2, and will orbit the Intelsat 20 and HYLAS 2 relay satellites. Arianespace has taken delivery of this vehicle in the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building, and the two passengers are readied for their installation on the launcher.