INSAT-3D completes initial preparations for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 flight from the Spaceport
India’s INSAT-3D weather satellite for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission has completed its initial pre-launch checkout at the Spaceport in French Guiana, and is now being readied for fueling.
INSAT-3D undergoes its fit-check with the cone-shaped device that will serve the satellite’s interface with Ariane 5 (photo at left). This activity occurred in the Spaceport S5 payload preparation center’s S5C processing hall, and was followed by INSAT-3D’s internal transfer to the S5B zone for fueling (at right).
To be orbited along with the European Alphasat telecommunications spacecraft on July 25, INSAT-3D will provide enhanced meteorological observation and the monitoring of land/ocean surfaces with its six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder. Also installed on the Indian spacecraft is a data relay transponder, along with a payload to assist in satellite-aided search and rescue operations.
Developed by the country’s space agency – the Indian Space Research Organisation, along with its Space Applications Centre – this satellite is adapted from India’s I-2K spacecraft bus. Once fueled, INSAT-3D will have an estimated liftoff mass of 2,090 kg.
Pre-launch activities with INSAT-3D in French Guiana have included a solar array test deployment, along with a fit-check on the adapter that will serve as the interface with Ariane 5. This week, the satellite was transferred within the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation center – moving from its previous location in the S5C large processing hall to the S5B hall, where the fueling will be carried out.
Arianespace’s upcoming mission with INSAT-3D and Alphasat will be its third Ariane 5 liftoff at the Spaceport in 2013, and is designated VA214 to signify the 214th launch of an Ariane-series vehicle.
Other Arianespace flights performed so far this year from French Guiana with the company’s three-member launcher family were one mission each of medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega vehicles. Completing the activity was a Soyuz flight from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, performed by the Starsem affiliate of Arianespace.