Rolling out under clear skies, the heavy-lift vehicle was moved from its Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone this morning in French Guiana.
Preparations now are underway for the final countdown, which will lead to the liftoff during a launch window that opens at 6:59 p.m. local time and continues to 7:48 p.m. (21:59-22:48 GMT). The launch can be followed live on this special website.
Ariane 5’s payload lift performance for this mission is a total of 9,116 kg, which includes a mass of 7,971 kg for its satellite passengers, along with the associated integration hardware and the launcher’s Sylda multi-payload dispenser system.
Riding as the upper passenger in Ariane 5’s payload “stack” is Astra 3B, which will be released at just under 28 minutes into the flight. This EADS Astrium-built telecommunications satellite weighs approximately 5,471 kg, and is to be positioned at SES Astra’s 23.5 degrees East orbitalposition.
ComsatBw-2 – which has a liftoff mass of 2,440 kg. – will be deployed from Ariane 5’s lower passenger position at approximately 33 minutes into the flight. The satellite will deliver key services for Germany’s Bundeswehr (armed forces), operating from an orbital position of 13.2 degrees East.
Tomorrow’s mission will be the milestone 50th flight of an Ariane 5. To mark this occasion, the launch vehicle’s payload fairing carries a special commemorative logo.