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Ariane 5 October 3, 2016

Ariane 5 reaches the launch zone for Arianespace’s October 4 liftoff

Ariane 5 is in the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone

The heavy-lift Ariane 5 with its Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18 payloads approaches the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone during today’s rollout.

Arianespace has delivered another Ariane 5 to the launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, clearing the way for tomorrow's heavy-lift mission with a pair of telecommunications satellites: Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18.

Riding atop a mobile launch table, Ariane 5 today completed its transfer from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building – where payload integration occurred – to the dedicated ELA-3 launch complex. With this rollout completed, the final countdown will begin for an October 4 liftoff at the start of a 1-hr., 15-min. launch window opening at 5:30 p.m. local time in French Guiana.

Tomorrow’s mission is designated Flight VA231, and it has an estimated payload performance of 10,660 kg. – a total that factors in Sky Muster™ II and GSAT-18, plus the dual-satellite dispenser system and integration hardware. Both passengers are to be deployed to geostationary transfer orbit during a 32-min. flight sequence.

Arianespace supports Australian and Indian customers 

Sky Muster™ II is the mission’s upper passenger and will be released first in the flight sequence at 28 min. after liftoff. Produced by SSL (Space Systems Loral) for operator nbn™, it will help extend high-speed internet across Australia, including the country’s rural and isolated regions.

To be deployed from Ariane 5’s lower passenger position is GSAT-18, which was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to strengthen its current fleet of 14 operational telecommunications satellites. This spacecraft’s separation will occur approximately 32 min. after liftoff – completing the October 4 mission.

As the fifth heavy-lift Ariane 5 flight so far in 2016, tomorrow’s launch will continue a busy year of mission activity for Arianespace’s full family of launchers, which also has included two flights performed with the medium-lift Soyuz and one using the lightweight Vega.

nbn website:

SSL website:

ISRO website:

Ariane 5 September 30, 2016

Arianespace’s first Ariane 5 for Galileo takes shape at the Spaceport

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