The upcoming Ariane 5 mission with GSAT-8 and ST-2 is given its “go” for launch
Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 flight of 2011 has been approved for its May 20 liftoff following today’s successful launch readiness review, which was performed at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
The review is held prior to each Ariane 5 mission, ensuring that the launch vehicle and its payload are flight-ready, along with the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.
With today’s review, Ariane 5 is now cleared for its May 19 rollout from the Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone, where it will be readied for liftoff on Friday at 5:38 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
This upcoming launch from the Spaceport – which was pushed back from its original launch timing by 24 hours to allow for additional checks of the Ariane 5 – will orbit a dual payload consisting of the GSAT-8 and ST-2 spacecraft.
Ariane 5’s payload lift performance for Arianespace’s latest mission is more than 9,000 kg., which includes a combined mass of 8,190 kg. for its two satellite passengers, plus the launcher’s dual-payload dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.
To be deployed first during the 31-minute flight sequence, ST-2 will be utilized by the ST-2 Satellite Ventures joint company of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) and Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom Company Ltd. for Ku- and C-band relay services across the Middle East, Central Asia, India and Southeast Asia. The spacecraft was built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corporation using a DS2000 platform, and will have an estimated liftoff mass of 5,090 kg.
Located below ST-2 in the launcher payload “stack” is the mission’s lower passenger, GSAT-8 – which was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) using its I-3K satellite bus. This satellite will weigh approximately 3,100 kg. at liftoff, and carries 24 transponders to augment India’s Ku-band relay capabilities. In addition, GSAT-8 also is equipped with the two-channel GAGAN system for aircraft navigation assistance over Indian airspace and adjoining areas.
The Spaceport’s May 20 mission continues a busy year of activity for Arianespace’s heavy-lift workhorse, and follows Ariane 5’s on-target April 22 flight that orbited Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn, along with the milestone launch of Europe’s second Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) on February 16.
In parallel activity, the Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s fourth heavy-lift mission of 2011 has completed its initial build-up at the Spaceport for a flight with the BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R and ASTRA 1N telecommunications relay satellites.