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LAUNCH PAD
Ariane 5s are on the move for Arianespace's upcoming missions
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Aug 27, 2012


File image.

Two Ariane 5 launchers have been positioned at the Spaceport for processing in preparation for Arianespace's upcoming flights from French Guiana, maintaining the company's mission pace in 2012.

During separate activities on the same day, Flight VA209's Ariane 5 was transferred from the Launcher Integration Building - where its basic assembly was performed - to the Final Assembly Building for installation of this mission's two commercial relay satellites; while the vehicle for Flight VA210 was brought into the Spaceport after arriving by ship at nearby Pariacabo Port, completing a trans-Atlantic trip from Europe.

These concurrent developments underscore Arianespace's mission flexibility with Ariane 5 that benefit from the Spaceport's infrastructure, which is designed to support parallel launch campaigns with this workhorse vehicle.

The Flight VA209 Ariane 5's transfer to the Final Assembly Building represented a new milestone in preparations for the next mission, as it marked the launcher's delivery to Arianespace by prime contractor Astrium.

Final steps under Arianespace's responsibility will be installation of the mission's two payloads - ASTRA 2F and GSAT-10 - followed by the completed vehicle's rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone, the final countdown and liftoff on September 21.

ASTRA 2F will be operated by Luxembourg-based SES and is configured with Ku- and Ka-band payloads for the relay of high performance Direct-to-Home (DTH) and next-generation broadband services to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The spacecraft is a six metric ton-class platform based on Astrium's Eurostar E3000 satellite bus. The GSAT-10 passenger for Flight VA209 was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for Ku- and C-band relay services as part of the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) geostationary spacecraft system.

With a liftoff mass of approximately 3,400 kg., this satellite is based on ISRO's I-3K satellite bus.

Arianespace's mission with GSAT-10 and ASTRA 2F will be the 65th flight of an Ariane 5 from French Guiana, and the 209th liftoff of an Ariane-series vehicle - which results in its VA209 designation (with the "V" representing the French word for "flight," and the "A" signifying an Ariane member of the company's commercial launcher family).

Flight VA209's Ariane 5 transfer to the Final Assembly Building opens up the Spaceport's Launcher Integration Building for Arianespace's subsequent mission, with its VA210 vehicle now ready to take shape in this facility.

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