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ASTRA 3B Begins Integration

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by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Mar 12, 2010
Satellite preparations for Arianespace's first mission of 2010 have transitioned into their final phase, with the ASTRA 3B payload making its first contact with Ariane 5 launcher hardware.

During activity inside the Spaceport's S5 payload integration building, ASTRA 3B was installed atop a two-piece adapter unit that will serve as the satellite's interface with Ariane 5.

This clears the satellite for integration in Ariane 5's payload "stack," which will be completed inside the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building with its companion spacecraft - COMSATBw-2.

The Ariane 5 ECA heavy-lift vehicle with ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 is scheduled for launch on March 24, opening another busy year for Arianespace's workhorse vehicle. A total of seven Ariane 5 flights are planned during 2010, maintaining the mission pace in response to the company's growing international order book.

Produced by EADS Astrium, ASTRA 3B is a state-of-the-art Ku- and Ka-band spacecraft designed for direct-to-home broadcast services and two-way broadband relay across Europe and the Middle East. After its deployment by Ariane 5, it will be positioned at SES ASTRA's important 23.5 deg. East orbital position.

ASTRA 3B is based on the Eurostar E3000 satellite bus, and will have a liftoff mass of 5,470 kg. The spacecraft is designed for a nominal lifetime of 15 years.

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