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Assembly completed: the Ariane 5 launcher for Flight VA218 receives its “upper compos


25 Mar 2011
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Assembly completed: the Ariane 5 launcher for Flight VA218 receives its “upper composite”

The photos above provide two views of Ariane Flight VA218’s “upper composite” – comprised of the combined cryogenic upper stage and vehicle equipment bay – as it is lowered for installation atop the launcher’s core cryogenic stage.

Ariane Flight VA218

Another Ariane 5 for launch by Arianespace has completed its initial build-up at the Spaceport, marking a major milestone in preparations for this upcoming dual-passenger flight.

The latest assembly activity – performed this week at the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building in French Guiana – included installation of the ESC-A cryogenic upper stage and vehicle equipment bay as a single unit atop the Ariane 5’s cryogenic core stage.

With initial build-up concluded, the launcher is now being readied for its transfer to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building – where it will be fitted with the Optus 10 and MEASAT-3b satellite passengers.

This mission’s Optus 10 payload was produced by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for Australian telecommunications service provider Optus. It is outfitted with 24 Ku-band transponders to provide direct TV broadcast, internet connectivity, telephone and data transmission services for Australia and New Zealand.

The Airbus Defence and Space-built MEASAT-3b spacecraft will be operated by MEASAT Global to support direct-to-home broadcast services for Malaysia, India and Indonesia. Positioned at 91.5 degrees East, MEASAT-3b will be co-located with the MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a satellites to enhance Asia’s key direct-to-home neighborhood.
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