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Third Ariane 5 ready for launch in 2012
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Mar 23, 2012

File image.

Three Ariane 5s are now in French Guiana following arrival of the heavy-lift launcher for Arianespace's June launch, which will carry a broadband communications satellite with North American coverage and a European weather observation platform.

Elements for the latest Ariane 5 were delivered this week by the MN Colibri, which is one of two sea-going roll-on/roll-off cargo ships used by Arianespace in transporting launchers to its South American base of operations.

Ariane 5's flight in June will orbit EchoStar XVII, a high-throughput satellite built by Space Systems/Loral for Hughes Network Systems, along with the Meteosat Second Generation-3 (MSG-3) meteorological spacecraft, manufactured by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency and Eumetsat (the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites).

Components carried aboard MN Colibri for the Ariane 5 mission included the launcher's main cryogenic stage; its upper composite section - composed of the cryogenic upper stage and vehicle equipment bay; the SYLDA dual-satellite dispenser system, plus related integration hardware; and the payload fairing.

The manufacturers of these launcher elements represent a cross-section of Ariane 5's European industrial team, including Astrium in France, Germany and Madrid; as well as RUAG Space in Switzerland.

Arianespace's flight in June with EchoStar XVII and MSG-3 will be designated VA207, signifying the 207th flight of an Ariane family launcher. It will be the third Ariane 5 mission in 2012, following the liftoff of VA205 this Friday, March 23, with Europe's third Automated Transfer Vehicle; and the VA206 flight, scheduled for mid-May with Japan's JCSAT-13 broadcasting/communications satellite and the VINASAT-2 telecommunications relay spacecraft for Vietnam.

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Europe launches third robot freighter to space station
Kourou, French Guiana (AFP) March 23, 2012
An automated craft laden with supplies for the International Space Station (ISS) headed into space on Friday in the heaviest launch ever undertaken by Europe. The 20-tonne vessel, named after 20th-century Italian physicist, Edoardo Amaldi, blasted off atop a heavyweight version of the Ariane 5 launcher at 01:34 am (0434 GMT) from the launchpad in French Guiana. "Mission accomplished," Je ... read more

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