Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Mar 24, 2010
Arianespace has set for March 26 its initial Ariane 5 mission of 2010, which will carry SES ASTRA's ASTRA 3B commercial telecommunications satellite and the COMSATBw-2 secure relay platform for the German armed forces.
The Friday evening liftoff is scheduled at the opening of a launch window that runs from 7:03 p.m. local time at the Spaceport in French Guiana to 7:52 p.m. (22h03-22h52 UTC).
This mission will be the 194th flight of an Ariane family launch vehicle, and the 50th for an Ariane 5. The heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA version will be carrying a total payload of approximately 9,115 kg., which includes 7,970 kg. for the ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 satellites, plus the associated integration hardware and the SYLDA dual-payload dispenser system.
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. Produced by EADS Astrium, it will be positioned at SES ASTRA's important 23.5 deg. East orbital position.
COMSATBw-2 will deliver key services for the German Bundeswehr (German armed forces). Based on the Spacebus 3000B2 satellite bus, the platform was designed, integrated and tested by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of EADS Astrium - the program's space segment prime contractor.
This year-opening flight had been postponed from March 24 to allow for certain additional verifications on the launch vehicle. The delay is in line with Arianespace's policy of ensuring the total readiness of its launchers as part of the company's commitment to quality and reliability.
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