The 51st Ariane 5 has rolled out to the launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, clearing the way for this evening’s (June 23) liftoff with a dual-passenger payload of the Arabsat-5A and COMS satellites.
Emerging under cloudy French Guiana skies at 10:30 a.m. local time yesterday, the heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA was transferred during a one-hour process from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to the launch zone, where it was locked in place.
With the transfer now completed, the final countdown will start for Ariane 5’s June 23 liftoff at the start of a launch window that opens at 18.41 in French Guiana and continues until 19.45 (local time at launch facility). The launch can be followed live on a special section of the Arianespace website, which can be accessed here.The live casts starts at 21.21 GMT.
This will be the second Ariane 5 flight of 2010, and its payload lift performance to geostationary transfer orbit is approximately 8,390 kg. – which includes a combined mass of 7,315 kg. for the Arabsat-5A and COMS satellites, plus the launcher’s SYLDA 5 dual-payload dispenser system and associated integration hardware.
To be released first during the mission’s deployment sequence will be Arabsat-5A, which was built by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space on a turnkey contract for the Arabsat telecommunications operator. The satellite has a mass at liftoff of about 4,940 kg., carrying 24 Ku-band transponders and 28 C-band transponders for telecommunications and TV broadcasting services over the Middle East and Africa.
The COMS satellite passenger will be separated at just over 32 min. into the flight to complete this mission – which will be the 195th flight of an Ariane family launch vehicle. COMS is a multi-purpose spacecraft for South Korea, fitted with three payloads for meteorological observation, ocean surveillance and experimental broadband multimedia communications services. It has a liftoff mass of 2,460 kg., and was built by Astrium as prime contractor. The payload was supplied by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.