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Ariane 5 July 30, 2020

Ariane 5 is in the launch zone for Arianespace’s July 31 mission with three passengers

The heavy-lift Ariane 5 with its trio of satellite payloads for Flight VA253 is shown in mid-transfer from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building (left photo), and during final positioning on the ELA-3 launch zone (at right).

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace Flight VA253 has rolled out to the launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, clearing the way for tomorrow's mission with a trio of spacecraft: Galaxy 30 (G-30), Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) and BSAT-4b.

Riding atop a mobile launch table, the heavy-lift launcher completed its transfer from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building – where payload integration occurred – to the dedicated ELA-3 launch complex.

ArianeGroup is Ariane 5’s prime contractor, delivering the fully-assembled launch vehicle for operation by Arianespace.

Geostationary transfer orbit delivery

With today’s rollout completed, the final countdown will begin for liftoff on July 31 at the start of a 46-min. launch window that opens at 6:30 p.m. local time in French Guiana (21:30 UTC).

For this 109th launch of an Ariane 5, the lift performance is an estimated 10,468 kg., which factors in the G-30, MEV-2 and BSAT-4b payloads, plus the dispenser system and integration hardware.

The mission will use an Ariane 5 launcher, which has increased its payload capacity by 85 kg. for this flight, thanks to the introduction of a new vehicle equipment bay (VEB) – bringing total payload capacity into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) to 10,200 kg. Since kicking off a continuous improvement program for Ariane 5 in 2016, ArianeGroup has increased this launcher’s payload capacity by 300 kg. for the benefit of Arianespace.

All three passengers are to be deployed into geostationary transfer orbit during a 47-min. flight sequence from liftoff to final separation.

Payloads for operation by Intelsat and B-SAT

To be deployed first during the flight trajectory is Galaxy 30, built by Northrop Grumman for Intelsat. G-30 will provide UHD video distribution/broadcast and broadband services that cover North America.

MEV-2 is to be separated from Ariane 5 in Flight VA253’s second deployment step. This highly innovative satellite servicing vehicle, which is built by Northrop Grumman’s wholly-owned company, SpaceLogistics LLC, is designed to dock with satellites in orbit, offering life extension services. The initial spacecraft target for MEV-2 is the Intelsat 10-02 satellite, which has been in geostationary orbit since 2004. MEV-2 will provide five years of life extension for this relay platform.

Completing Ariane 5’s mission is the deployment of BSAT-4b, designed for Ultra-High-Definition (UHD, 4K and 8K) direct-to-home television broadcasting across Japan in conjunction with its twin, BSAT-4a – launched by Arianespace in 2017. Built by Maxar Technologies, BSAT-4b will be operated by Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT).

  • Larger versions of the photos above are available for downloading in the Gallery.

Launch window for Flight VA253:

 French Guiana Washington, D.C. Universal Time Paris Tokyo
6:30 p.m. and
7:16 p.m. on
July 31
5:30 p.m. and
6:16 p.m. on
July 31
21:30 and
22:16 on
July 31
11:30 p.m. and
12:16 a.m. on
July 31-Aug. 1
6:30 a.m. and
7:16 a.m. on
Aug. 1


More details are available in the VA253 launch kit:

Ariane Flight VA253
PDF / 1 MB

ArianeGroup website:

Northrop Grumman website:

Intelsat website:

Maxar website:

B-SAT website:

Ariane 5 July 29, 2020

Launch readiness confirmed: Approval is given for Arianespace’s Ariane 5 flight on July 31

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