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DirecTV-15 and SKY Mexico-1 go for May 27 Ariane 5 heavy-lift
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) May 27, 2015

Ariane 5 rolls out for dual-mission with DirecTV-15 and SKY Mexico-1
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) May 27, 2015 - Arianespace's heavy-lift launcher has moved to its launch zone in French Guiana for the May 27 Ariane 5 flight with DirecTV-15 for DIRECTV and SKY Mexico's SKY Mexico-1.

During activity at the Spaceport, Ariane 5 was transferred atop its mobile launch table from the Final Assembly Building - where payload integration occurred - to the dedicated ELA-3 launch complex.

This step paves the way for tomorrow's mission - designated Flight VA223 in Arianespace's numbering system - which is planned to liftoff in a one-hour, 24-minute launch window that opens at 6:16 p.m. local time in French Guiana.

As Flight VA223's upper passenger, DirecTV-15 - built by Airbus Defence and Space - will be deployed first in the flight sequence at nearly 28 minutes after liftoff.

Approximately 10 minutes later, the Orbital ATK, Inc.-produced SKY Mexico-1 - which is riding in Ariane 5's lower position - is to be separated, completing the flight sequence.

Underscoring the company's sustained operational pace at the Spaceport this year, Flight VA223 will be Arianespace's fourth total launch in 2015 for its complete launcher family, following one previous mission each for Ariane 5, the medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega.

Arianespace is keeping up its 2015 mission cadence with the go-ahead for a dual-payload Ariane 5 launch next week from French Guiana that will orbit the DirecTV-15 and SKY Mexico-1 direct-to-home relay satellites for digital television entertainment services.

The green light for Flight VA223 was given after the launch readiness review, which is held prior to each Arianespace mission - confirming the "go" status of Ariane 5, as well as the Spaceport's infrastructure and the downrange tracking station network.

With the readiness review now completed, all is set for next Tuesday's rollout of Ariane 5, followed by an evening liftoff on May 27 during a launch window that opens at 6:16 p.m. (local time in French Guiana).

Lift performance for the mission is approximately 9,960 kg., which includes 9,200 kg. for the DirecTV-15 and SKY Mexico-1 payloads, along with associated hardware for the launcher's SYLDA dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.

DirecTV-15 is an Airbus Defence and Space-built satellite based on the Eurostar E3000 platform. It will provide services in the Ku-, Ka- and R-bands for customers of U.S.-based DIRECTV.

Orbital ATK, Inc. produced the SKY Mexico-1 spacecraft using its GEOStar-2 platform. Equipped with Ku- and R-band transponders, this spacecraft will be operated for SKY - which is owned by Mexico's Grupo Televisa S.A.B. and DIRECTV.

Arianespace Flight VA223 will be the 223rd flight of an Ariane vehicle since the family of European-developed launchers began operation in 1979.

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