Saturday 06-September-2014, 20:45
Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission from the Spaceport enters its payload integration phase
The payload fairing is lowered over MEASAT-3b during Flight VA218 integration activity in the Spaceport’s Ariane 5 Final Assembly Building (photo at left). The satellite is visible at mid-level in the image, installed atop the SYLDA dispenser. In the photo at right, Optus 10 is fueled inside the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility.
Ariane Flight VA218
Payload integration is underway for Arianespace’s upcoming heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission, which is scheduled for next week from French Guiana with two commercial telecommunications satellites: MEASAT-3b and Optus 10.
Recent activity at the Spaceport included initial steps in creating the dual-payload “stack,” with MEASAT-3b riding in the upper position. This involved installing the relay platform – manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space – atop Ariane 5’s SYLDA dispenser system in the launcher’s Final Assembly Building.
MEASAT-3b was then encapsulated by Ariane 5’s ogive-shaped payload fairing, completing the payload stack’s upper portion and readying it for positioning over Optus 10 after this spacecraft is installed atop the launcher.
During the Ariane 5 mission, which is set for the evening of September 11, MEASAT-3b will be released first into geostationary transfer orbit, followed by separation of the SYLDA dispenser – enabling Optus 10’s subsequent deployment.
MEASAT-3b is equipped with 48 high-power Ku-band transponders to expand direct-to-home broadcasting and VSAT (very small aperture terminal) services across Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia. Operated by MEASAT – a Malaysian-based premium supplier of satellite relay services to international broadcasters, direct-to-home platforms and telecom operators – MEASAT-3b will be co-located at the 91.5 deg. East orbital position along with the MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a satellites.
Optus 10, which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for Australian telecommunications service provider Optus, has been fueled at the Spaceport in the S5 payload preparation facility. This satellite is outfitted with 24 Ku-band transponders to provide direct TV broadcast, internet connectivity, telephone and data transmission services for Australia and New Zealand.
The Ariane 5 mission with MEASAT-3b and Optus 10 is designated Flight VA218 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system. It will be the fourth launch of the heavy-lift workhorse from French Guiana in 2014.