Ready for liftoff: Ariane 5 is in the launch zone for its heavy-lift flight on April 22
Arianespace’s mission with the Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn satellites is on track for its liftoff tomorrow evening, following the workhorse Ariane 5’s rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Riding atop its mobile launch table, the heavy-lift vehicle emerged from the Final Assembly Building for its transfer to the launch pad, where it was secured in place. With the rollout now completed, the final countdown will begin for Ariane 5’s April 22 liftoff at the start of a launch window that opens at 6:37 p.m. local time in French Guiana and continues until 7:41 p.m.
This will be the second Ariane 5 flight of 2011, with a payload lift performance of nearly 10,065 kg. – which includes a combined mass of 8,965 kg. for the Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn spacecraft, plus the launcher’s dual-payload dispenser system and associated integration hardware.
Riding as the upper passenger in Ariane 5’s payload “stack” is Yahsat Y1A, which will be released at 27 min. into the mission. This satellite is based on EADS Astrium’s Eurostar E3000 platform, and its communications payload – which is designed to operate in Ku- and C-bands – was supplied by Thales Alenia Space.
Once in service, Yahsat Y1A will be utilized by the Al Yah Satellite Communications Company to provide customized relay services for government and commercial sectors in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Southwest Asia.
Intelsat New Dawn – which was developed for a joint venture consortium led by Convergence Partners and Intelsat – also carries Ku- and C-band transponders, and will be deployed from Ariane 5’s lower passenger position at approximately 35 minutes after liftoff.
Produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation, Intelsat New Dawn is the first-ever African private sector communications satellite, and was conceived to supply critical communications infrastructure for African customers – delivering wireless backhaul, broadband and media content, which are among the fastest growing satellite-based applications in Africa.
Tomorrow’s mission is designated VA201, signifying the 201st launch of an Ariane family vehicle since 1979. It follows the February 16 flight of an Ariane 5 with the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which was deployed for a servicing mission with the International Space Station.