by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Aug 02, 2012
Arianespace's mission with the Intelsat 20 and HYLAS 2 telecommunications satellites is on pace for liftoff tonight, following its Ariane 5's rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone Wednesday at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
Riding atop its mobile launch table, this heavy-lift workhorse was transferred to the launch pad from the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building, where the Ariane 5 received its dual payload last week.
With rollout completed, final countdown will begin for an August 2 liftoff at the start of a 57-minute window that opens at 5:54 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
Thursday's flight will be the fourth Ariane 5 mission of 2012, with a total lift performance estimated at 10,180 kg. - which includes approximately 9,400 kg. for the Intelsat 20 and HYLAS 2 spacecraft, along with the launcher's dual-satellite dispenser system and integration hardware.
Riding as the upper passenger in Ariane 5's payload "stack," Intelsat 20 will be released first during the mission at 28 minutes into the flight, with HYLAS 2 being deployed 34 minutes after liftoff.
Intelsat 20 weighs some 6,090 kg., and was built for international satellite operator Intelsat by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California based on the 1300-series platform.
Carrying a payload of Ku-band, C-band and Ka-band transponders, this spacecraft will replace the Intelsat 7 and Intelsat 10 satellites in orbit, and is to provide video, telephone and data transmission services for Europe, Africa, Russia, Asia and the Middle East.
The HYLAS 2 platform was produced for European satellite operator Avanti Communications by Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia using its Star 2.4E platform, and is installed in the lower position of Ariane 5's payload "stack."
Weighing some 3,300 kg., the satellite is equipped with Ka-band transponders and will provide data capacity to telecommunications, enterprise and government customers in Europe, the Middle East and portions of Africa.
Tomorrow's mission is designated VA208, signifying the 208th launch of an Ariane family vehicle since 1979.
Orbital-Built HYLAS 2 Communications Satellite Set for Launch Aboard Ariane 5 Rocket
The targeted launch time will be during a nearly one-hour launch window that opens at 4:54 p.m. and closes at 5:51 p.m. (EDT), subject to final pre-launch preparations and testing activities, as well as acceptable weather conditions at the time of the launch.
Following its launch and several weeks of in-orbit testing and systems verification, the satellite will be placed into commercial service from its final geosynchronous orbit position, providing data and video services to Eastern and Southern Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and across the Caucuses.
"HYLAS 2 introduces a new market application for Orbital's commercial communications satellites, bringing broadband communications into the range of space systems we offer our customers," said Mr. Christopher Richmond, Orbital's Senior Vice President of Communications Satellites.
"The HYLAS 2 spacecraft is one of the most sophisticated commercial satellites we have ever built and we are looking forward to putting it to work for our Avanti customer."
The state-of-the-art smaller-size satellite is based on Orbital's proven GEOStar-2 platform. It carries 24 active Ka-band user beams and six gateway beams and will produce approximately 5.0 kilowatts of payload electrical power.
The Ka-band spot beams on the HYLAS 2 will provide two-way communications services to facilitate high-speed delivery of data to end-user applications such as corporate networking, broadband Internet access, business continuity services and video distribution. The spacecraft will be equipped with a steerable spot beam, also operating at Ka-band, which can provide coverage anywhere on Earth that is visible to the satellite.
Orbital designed, built and tested the HYLAS 2 spacecraft at the company's satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, Virginia.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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