The third Ariane 5 flight of 2010 enters its final countdown
Arianespace has begun the final countdown for this evening’s Ariane 5 dual-payload mission from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Activities began at the Spaceport with this morning’s electrical systems checkout, and are being followed by the fueling of Ariane 5’s cryogenic main stage.
This is the third Ariane 5 mission in 2010, and it will orbit a pair of Thales Alenia Space-produced satellites: NILESAT 201 and RASCOM-QAF1R. Liftoff is scheduled during a launch window that opens at 5:45 p.m. and continues to 8:34 p.m., local time in French Guiana.
NILESAT 201 will be deployed first in the flight sequence, with its release scheduled at 28 min. 44 sec. into the mission – followed by RASCOM-QAF1R’s separation from the launcher approximately 33 minutes after liftoff, which will mark the mission’s completion.
After being orbited by Ariane 5, NILESAT 201 will be utilized by Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat to deliver digital Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV and radio broadcasting – along with high-speed data transmission services – to North Africa and the Middle East.
RASCOM-QAF1R will ensure service continuity for its operator, RascomStar-QAF, providing African access to advanced communications and information technologies – in particular rural telephony.