Arianespace’s third heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission of 2009 has been cleared for its July 1 liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana. The go-ahead was given following today’s launch readiness review – which validated the status of Ariane 5, its TerreStar-1 payload, the launch infrastructure at Europe’s Spaceport, and the network of downrange tracking stations.
Fully integrated with its TerreStar-1 payload, Ariane 5 is ready for liftoff from Europe’s Spaceport following its rollout to the ELA-3 launch facility from the Final Assembly Building this morning. Arianespace’s mission will be the company’s third flight of the heavy-lift vehicle in 2009, with a total of seven launches planned during the year.
With the installation of Ariane 5’s payload fairing over the TerreStar-1 payload, integration of the heavy-lift launcher is now complete for its July 1 mission from Europe’s Spaceport. Launch teams have since been validating the vehicle’s final configuration in preparation for its launch pad rollout on June 30.
The Spaceport’s ELA-1 facility – where Arianespace’s lightweight Vega will be operated – is now ready for integration and qualification tests. These activities are scheduled to begin this summer at the refurbished site, which was previously used between 1979 and 1989 for missions with the Ariane 1 and 3 launcher versions.
Ariane 5 has received its TerreStar-1 payload in preparation for the heavy-lift launcher’s July 1 mission from Europe’s Spaceport. The Space Systems/Loral-built satellite will provide coverage over the U.S. and Canada – offering voice, data and video communications to satellite/terrestrial mobile devices the size of a typical smart phone.
TerreStar-1 has been mated to the cone-shaped adapter unit that will serve as the interface with its Ariane 5 ECA in preparation for Arianespace’s third mission of the year. The next step for this payload – the world’s largest civilian telecommunications satellite – is its transfer to the Ariane 5 Final Assembly Building at Europe’s Spaceport.
Initial preparations have been completed at the Spaceport’s ELA-1 launch site, which has been refurbished and updated for missions with the new lightweight Vega. This activity includes upgrading and resurfacing the concrete launch pad, installing a new purpose-built mobile gantry, refurbishing the support infrastructure and connecting the site’s various supply lines.
Ariane 5’s TerreStar-1 passenger has been loaded with its propellant in the S5A fueling and integration hall at Europe’s Spaceport. This Space Systems/Loral-built spacecraft – which is to be the largest commercial telecommunications satellite ever launched – will provide critical services for government, emergency responders, rural communities and commercial users.
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Speaking to international reporters at the company’s Paris Air Show press conference, Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall highlighted Ariane 5’s sustained mission pace in 2009, as well as continued preparations to introduce Soyuz and Vega at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Demonstrating Arianespace’s strong market position, two upcoming Ariane 5 missions to launch telecommunications satellites also were announced at the biennial event – ST-2 for Singapore and Taiwan in 2011 and ABS-2 for Hong Kong operator Asia Broadcast Satellite in 2012.