Ariane 5 is “signed” and ready for launch on Arianespace’s fifth heavy-lift flight of 2015
Arianespace’s dual-payload mission with telecommunications satellites to serve Australia and Argentina has been approved for liftoff on Wednesday at the Spaceport, providing the go-ahead for its fifth heavy-lift flight in 2015 and the ninth overall from French Guiana this year using the company’s complete launcher family.
The September 30 liftoff was authorized at completion of today’s launch readiness review, which confirmed the status of Ariane 5, its Sky Muster and ARSAT-2 spacecraft passengers, the Spaceport’s infrastructure, and a network of ground stations that will track the launcher’s trajectory.
With the go-ahead, Ariane 5 will be transferred tomorrow from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone, where the vehicle will be positioned for liftoff on September 30 during a launch window that opens at 5:30 p.m. and continues until 7:15 p.m. (local time in French Guiana).
The mission is designated Flight VA226 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, notating the 226th Ariane launch since this series of European-built vehicles began operation in 1979. Wednesday’s mission will be the 82nd launch of an Ariane 5 from French Guiana, where the vehicle is operated alongside Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega.
Satellite team members put a “finishing touch” on Ariane 5
As part of Flight VA226’s final activity, members of the Sky Muster and ARSAT-2 teams signed spacecraft logos that are affixed to Ariane 5’s protective payload fairing. This step “personalized” the launcher in recognition of the efforts that have prepared these two payloads for the ride into orbit and their subsequent service startup.
Located in Ariane 5’s upper passenger position is Sky Muster, which will deliver broadband services from geostationary orbit to more than 200,000 rural and remote Australians, providing coverage across the country – including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands.
As the initial satellite to be orbited by Arianespace for nbnTM, Sky Muster has an estimated liftoff mass of 6,440 kg. and was built by SSL (Space Systems Loral). nbn is owned by the Commonwealth of Australia and the company’s objective is to ensure all Australians have access to fast broadband as soon as possible, at affordable prices and at the least cost to taxpayers.
ARSAT-2 is installed in the lower payload position on Ariane 5. This satellite was built under the responsibility Argentina’s INVAP and will be operated by the state-owned Argentinian operator ARSAT to provide direct-to-home television (DTH), Internet access services for reception on VSAT antennas, along with data transmission and IP telephony. It has a liftoff mass of approximately 2,975 kg.