Ariane 5 is in the launch zone for Arianespace’s fifth heavy-lift flight of 2012
Arianespace’s mission with the ASTRA 2F and GSAT-10 satellites is on track for its liftoff tomorrow evening following the workhorse Ariane 5’s rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Moving atop one of two large mobile launch tables in service for Ariane 5, the heavy-lift vehicle emerged from the Final Assembly Building for its transfer to the launch pad, where it was secured in place. With this step completed, final preparations can now begin for Ariane 5’s September 28 liftoff at 6:18 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
This will be Arianespace’s fifth Ariane 5 flight of 2012, with a payload lift performance of more than 10,200 kg. – which includes a combined mass of some 9,400 kg. for the ASTRA 2F and GSAT-10 spacecraft, plus the launcher’s dual-payload dispenser system and associated integration hardware.
Riding as the upper passenger in Ariane 5’s payload “stack” is ASTRA 2F, which will be released approximately 27 min. after liftoff. This satellite is based on EADS Astrium’s Eurostar E3000 platform and features Ku- and Ka-band payloads.
Following its deployment by Ariane 5, ASTRA 2F will be operated by Luxembourg-based SES for the delivery of high-performance Direct-to-Home (DTH) and next-generation broadband services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
GSAT-10 – which was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) using its I-3K satellite bus – has a liftoff mass of some 3,400 kg., and will be deployed from Ariane 5’s lower passenger position at approximately 30 min. into the flight.
Equipped with 30 Ku- and C-band transponders and the GAGAN (GPS and GEO augmented navigation) payload, GSAT-10 is to join the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system of geostationary spacecraft.
Tomorrow’s mission is designated VA209, signifying the 209th launch of an Ariane family vehicle since 1979.