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Ariane 5 payload integration underway; First Soyuz launchers arrive
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Jun 27, 2011

illustration only

Both satellite passengers for Arianespace's fourth heavy-lift mission of 2011 are well advanced in their integration phase as preparations move forward for the July 1 launch from French Guiana.

Following activity inside the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building, BSAT-3c/JCSAT-110R is now integrated on the workhorse launch vehicle. The spacecraft was positioned earlier this week, placing it as the lower passenger in the payload "stack."

Marking another preparation milestone this week, the ASTRA 1N communications relay platform has been encapsulated in its payload fairing - completing the payload stack's upper component. This step occurred inside the satellite staging area of Ariane 5's Final Assembly Building, where the ogive-shaped fairing was lowered into place over the spacecraft and the SYLDA dispenser system.

The fairing is designed to protect ASTRA 1N - which will ride as the upper passenger on Ariane 5's July 1 flight - during the heavy-lift launch vehicle's climb-out through the atmosphere's dense layers.

Ariane 5's payload lift performance for the upcoming mission is more than 9,000 kg., which includes a combined mass of 8,240 kg. for its two satellite passengers, plus the launcher's dual-payload dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.

During parallel activity, launchers for the Spaceport's first two Soyuz missions arrived in French Guiana this week - marking another milestone in preparations for the Russian-built medium-lift vehicle's service introduction with Arianespace.

The launchers were transported by the MN Colibri roll-on/roll-off sea-going ship from the Russian port city of St. Petersburg to Pariacabo port near Kourou, where they were unloaded and transported to the Spaceport.

One of these vehicles will be earmarked for an October 20 liftoff to orbit a pair of Galileo satellites for Europe's space-based navigation system, and is expected to be followed by the Spaceport's second Soyuz mission in 2011.

Two other Soyuz launchers were delivered to French Guiana in November 2009. These vehicles have been used to validate the integration and checkout processes at the Spaceport - with one of them also erected on the launch pad during a multi-day simulated launch campaign in April that culminated in a "virtual" mission on May 5. Ultimately, they will be employed for future Arianespace missions.

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