by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Aug 18, 2015
The fourth heavy-lift Ariane 5 for liftoff in 2015 is now complete as Arianespace sustains the mission cadence with its full launcher family, which also includes the medium-weight Soyuz and light-lift Vega.
During activity at the Spaceport's Ariane 5 Final Assembly Building in French Guiana, both passengers for next week's dual-payload mission to geostationary transfer orbit - EUTELSAT 8 West B and Intelsat 34 - have been installed atop their launcher, completing the build-up process. This clears the way for the final checkout, enabling the launch readiness review on Tuesday, August 18; followed by Ariane 5's rollout to the Spaceport's launch zone on Wednesday, and the next day's liftoff on August 20.
EUTELSAT 8 West B is positioned as the upper passenger on Ariane 5, and will be released first during the flight, followed by Intelsat 34's deployment from the launcher's lower payload position. The mission's duration is just under 42 minutes from the South American liftoff to deployment of its two satellites.
Built by Thales Alenia Space, the EUTELSAT 8 West B broadcast relay platform will be operated by Eutelsat and the Egyptian satellite company Nilesat, bringing powerful new satellite broadcasting resources to the Middle East and North Africa - primarily to serve direct-to-home markets. This 5.8-metric-ton-class relay platform also will introduce a C-band mission to the 8 deg. West orbital slot, covering the African continent and reaching to South America.
SSL (Space Systems Loral) produced the 3.3-metric-ton Intelsat 34 spacecraft, which will be utilized by satellite services provider Intelsat for the media distribution requirements of leading programmers for Latin America. It also will support advanced broadband coverage for maritime and aeronautical providers serving the North Atlantic. Intelsat 34 will operate from an orbital slot of 304.5 deg. East.
In addition to activity for the Ariane 5 mission on August 20 - which is designated Flight VA225 in Arianespace's launcher family numbering system - the Spaceport launch base is busy with preparations for several of the company's other upcoming missions. Another heavy-lift vehicle is taking shape for Flight VA226 at the launch site's Launcher Integration Building for Ariane 5, which will orbit the NBN Co 1A satellite for Australia's National Broadband Network and ARSAT-2 for Argentinean satellite operator ARSAT in September.
At separate locations on the Spaceport, two European Galileo navigation satellites and their Soyuz launcher are being readied for Flight VS12 - scheduled in September as well from French Guiana; while elements are on-hand at the launch base for the Vega vehicle that will loft Europe's LISA Pathfinder on a November mission to explore the Universe.
Overall, Arianespace is planning 11-12 missions during 2015 with its Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launcher family.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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