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Ariane Flight VA221

DIRECTV-14 lands in French Guiana while assembly begins for its Ariane 5 launcher


The Ariane 5 cryogenic core stage for Flight VA221 is readied to be raised into position over its mobile launch table to initiate the build-up activity.

The DIRECTV-14 spacecraft – which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV – was transported by a chartered An-124 cargo jetliner that landed at Félix Eboué International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne, then unloaded for its transfer by road to the Spaceport.

Based on SSL’s 1300-series platform, this high-capacity satellite is to strengthen DIRECTV’s direct-to-home (DTH) digital entertainment services across the United States and Puerto Rico.

In parallel activity, the mission’s Ariane 5 is coming together as initial build-up procedures involving this workhorse vehicle are performed in French Guiana.

Located inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, the Ariane 5 began taking shape during a multi-step process with positioning of the vehicle’s cryogenic core stage over its mobile launch table, followed by integration of the two solid propellant boosters.

The mission is designated Flight VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system, on which DIRECT-14 will be joined by its co-passenger: the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSAT-16 telecommunications satellite.




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  1. Initial Ariane 5 assembly is completed for Arianespace’s December mission with the DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 satellites

    [img]http://www.arianespace.com/images/missionup-dates/2014/1223-pano.jpg[/img]
    The Ariane 5 “upper composite” for Flight VA221 is hoisted in the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building (photos at left), then positioned atop the vehicle (at right). This heavy-lift mission will carry the DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 relay satellites.

    Ariane Flight VA221

    Basic build-up of the Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s sixth heavy-lift flight of 2014 is complete for a mission scheduled from French Guiana in early December with two geostationary orbit relay satellites.

    During activity inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building for Ariane 5, the “upper composite” – consisting of its cryogenic upper stage and equipment bay – was installed atop the vehicle’s already-assembled components: the core cryogenic stage and two solid propellant boosters.

    This clears the way for additional integration and check-out, enabling Ariane 5’s subsequent rollout to the Final Assembly Building for installation of the mission’s DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 satellite passengers.

    DIRECTV-14 already has arrived in French Guiana and currently is undergoing its pre-launch processing. Built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV, this high-capacity satellite is to strengthen DIRECTV’s direct-to-home (DTH) digital entertainment services across the United States and Puerto Rico.

    Joining DIRECTV-14 on the flight will be the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSAT-16 telecommunications satellite. This relay platform is designed to provide telecommunications services that include VSAT transmissions, TV broadcasting and emergency communications.

    The December flight of Ariane 5 is designated VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system for its family of launchers, which also includes the medum-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega.

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