The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s next heavy-lift flight is on the launch pad at Europe’s Spaceport
The workhorse Ariane 5 for tomorrow’s evening mission from French Guiana is now ready for liftoff following its rollout to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex this afternoon.
This heavy-lift vehicle was transferred to the launch pad during an hour-long procedure that began at 12:40 p.m. from the Final Assembly Building, where the Ariane 5 had been fitted with its dual-payload of the ASTRA 1N and BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R satellites.
Completing the one-hour transfer process, Arianespace’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 approaches its launch pad at the Spaceport under clear French Guiana skies.
Ariane 5’s rollout clears the way for final preparations and the countdown to liftoff, which will take place during a launch window that opens at 6:53 p.m. local time in French Guiana on August 5.
This is Arianespace’s fourth Ariane 5 mission in 2011, with a payload lift performance of 9,095 kg. – which includes a combined mass of 8,240 kg. for the ASTRA 1N and BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R spacecraft, plus the launcher’s dual-payload dispenser system and associated integration hardware.
ASTRA 1N, which was built by EADS Astrium for the Luxembourg-based operator SES Astra, is to be deployed first during the 38-minute mission. Based on Astrium’s Eurostar E3000 platform, this satellite has an estimated liftoff mass of 5,350 kg. and is fitted with 52 active Ku-band transponders. It initially is to deliver interim capacity from an orbital position of 28.2 deg. East, and subsequently will move to SES ASTRA’s prime location at 19.2 deg. East for primary and backup services during a designed operational lifetime of 15 years.
The BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R spacecraft – to be released second in the flight sequence – was manufactured by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems as part of a turnkey contract for Japanese operators B-SAT Corporation and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation. It was produced using an A2100 A platform and will weigh approximately 2,910 kg. at launch. Following its deployment by Ariane 5, the satellite is to be positioned at 110 deg. East longitude in geostationary orbit. Fitted with 24 active Ku-band transponders, BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R is primarily designed to provide direct TV broadcast links for all of Japan.
Tomorrow’s mission follows Arianespace’s previous Ariane 5 flights in 2011 that orbited the ST-2 and GSAT-8 telecommunications satellites on May 20; the Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn relay spacecraft on April 22; and the Johannes Kepler Automated Transfer Vehicle for servicing of the International Space Station on February 16.