A world’s first: Soyuz is in the launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport

The latest addition to Arianespace’s launcher family made its world debut today at the vehicle’s new base of operations, as the first Soyuz was rolled out to the Spaceport’s launch pad in French Guiana.

This historic event began in the morning hours, when the Russian-built medium-lift workhorse vehicle emerged from its MIK integration facility in the Spaceport’s northwest zone for a 600-meter transfer to the launch zone.

ABS-2 to be launched by Arianespace in 2013

Arianespace has confirmed the launch date for Asia Broadcast Satellite’s (ABS) ABS-2 spacecraft, which will be orbited by a heavy-lift Ariane 5 in 2013.

Manufactured by Space Systems/Loral using an LS-1300 platform, ABS-2 will weigh more than 6,000 kg. at launch. It is fitted with C, Ku, and Ka-band transponders, and is to provide optimized direct TV broadcast, multimedia applications, telecommunications and data transmission services for Asia, Russia/CIS, Africa and the Middle East.

Arianespace launches Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn

Ariane 5 soared to another success today, deploying satellite payloads that will supply telecommunications services for two new customers who join the growing list of Arianespace commercial launch services users.

In doing so, the workhorse launcher also set a new heavyweight record: a combined payload mass of 8,956 kg. for its Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn satellite passengers, delivering a total lift performance of 10,050 kg. to geostationary transfer orbit.

Ariane 5 is transferred to the launch zone for tomorrow’s heavy-lift flight

The second Ariane 5 of 2011 has moved to the ELA-3 launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport, clearing the way for its April 22 evening liftoff with a dual-satellite payload of Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn.

Preparations now are underway for tomorrow’s final countdown, which will lead to liftoff during a launch window that opens at 6:37 p.m. local time in French Guiana and continues until 7:41 p.m.

Ariane 5’s payload lift performance for this mission is nearly 10,065 kg., which includes a mass of 8,965 kg. for its two satellite passengers, along with the associated integration hardware and the launcher’s multi-payload dispenser system.