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Ariane 5 January 31, 2019

Payload integration is complete for Arianespace’s year-opening Ariane 5 flight

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s upcoming mission from the Spaceport in French Guiana is now fully-assembled following integration of its two passengers: Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 (HS-4/SGS-1) and GSAT-31 – both of which will be delivered to geostationary orbit on a flight scheduled for February 5.

The Ariane 5 payload fairing containing Flight VA247’s HS-4/SGS-1 satellite passenger is readied to be lowered over the GSAT-31 spacecraft – which previously was installed atop Ariane 5’s central core.

Encapsulated in an ogive-shaped protective fairing, HS-4/SGS-1 has been positioned atop its GSAT-31 co-passenger – which was installed on the launcher’s cryogenic core stage during previous activity inside the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5.

These successive integration steps enable a new series of preparation milestones to begin. They include the tomorrow’s launch readiness review, which will be followed by Ariane 5’s February 4 rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone.

Liftoff is scheduled during a 61-min. launch window that opens February 5 at 6:01 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the two spacecraft to be deployed on a flight lasting 42 minutes. Ariane 5 will deliver a total payload lift performance of more than 10,050 kg. during the mission.

Next week’s launch is designated Flight VA247, marking the 247th using an Ariane family vehicle since this European series of launchers entered service in 1979. It kicks off another busy year of activity for Arianespace, which has the objective of performing as many as 12 missions during 2019 with its full launcher family – consisting of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega.

Enhanced communications

Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 – to be deployed from Ariane 5’s upper payload slot – is a geostationary “condosat” for Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Greek-Cypriot satellite operator Hellas Sat. It was designed, assembled and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space, with a coverage area that includes Europe, South Africa and the Middle East.

India’s GSAT-31 satellite is shown after its integration on the Ariane 5 launcher for Flight VA247 during preparation activity in the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building.

The Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 communications payload will provide advanced Ka-band spot beam communications services for KACST, a government organization responsible for promoting science and technology in Saudi Arabia. The Hellas Sat 4 communications payload will deliver advanced Ku-band regional beam communications services for the Arabsat subsidiary.

Riding in Ariane 5’s lower payload position, GSAT-31 – which was designed and manufactured by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) – will provide Ku-band communications services from geostationary orbit, helping “bridge the digital divide” with coverage across the Indian subcontinent.

  • Larger versions of the photos above are available in the Gallery.


Launch window for Flight VA247:

French Guiana UTC Athens Riyadh Bangalore
From 6:01 PM
to 7:02 PM
on Feb. 5
From 21:01
to 22:02
on Feb. 5
From 11:01 PM
to 12:02 AM
on Feb. 5-6
From 12:01 AM
to 1:02 AM
on Feb. 6
From 2:31 AM
to 3:32 AM
on Feb. 6


More details are available in the VA247 launch kit:

Ariane Flight VA247
PDF / 655 KB
Ariane 5 January 10, 2019

Both satellites for Arianespace’s year-opening Ariane 5 launch are now in French Guiana

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