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