- Mar 25, 2011
The third Ariane 5 for launch by Arianespace in 2011 is beginning to take shape with the assembly start-up of this heavy-lift vehicle at the Spaceport in French Guiana, which is to orbit a dual-satellite payload during the month of May.
In a process that has been performed 57 previous times at the Spaceport, the Ariane 5’s core cryogenic stage was removed from its protective shipping container and positioned over one of two operational mobile launch tables for the workhorse vehicle.
This clears the way for integration of the Ariane 5’s two solid propellant boosters, followed by installation of its cryogenic upper stage and vehicle equipment bay – all of which will occur inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building.
Once the basic build-up has been completed, the Ariane 5 will be ready for transfer to the Final Assembly Building – where its ST-2 and GSAT-8 satellite payloads will be integrated. The Final Assembly Building currently is occupied by another Ariane 5 that is being readied to launch the Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn telecommunications spacecraft on a mission scheduled for March 30.
The ST-2 satellite passenger to be lofted by Arianespace’s Ariane 5 mission in May will be deployed for ST-2 Satellite Ventures Pte Ltd., a joint venture formed by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) and Chunghwa Telecom Company Ltd. Its GSAT-8 co-passenger is a spacecraft for the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Arianespace’s busy launch manifest in 2011 calls for a total of nine missions to be performed from the Spaceport, composed of six Ariane 5 flights, the first two launches of the medium-lift Soyuz, and the lightweight Vega’s maiden flight. Three additional Soyuz missions for Arianespace are planned from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.