WATCH VIDEO. Tonight, Thursday October 28, the 197th Ariane mission will place into geostationary transfer orbit two communications satellites: W3B for Eutelsat, and BSAT-3b for Japanese operator Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT).
The Ariane 5 for this mission has moved to the launch pad at Europe’s Spaceport, readying it for tonight’s liftoff.
Emerging under clear French Guiana skies at 10:45 a.m. local time WEDNESday, the heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA was transferred during a one-hour process from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to the launch zone.
This will be the 53rd Ariane 5 launch. The launcher will be carrying a total payload of 8,263 kg, including 7,460 kg for the W3B and BSAT-3b satellites, which will be released into their targeted orbits. The launch will be from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana.
The W3B satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, using a Spacebus 4000 C3 platform. It will weigh 5,370 kg at launch. W3B is equipped with 53 active Ku-band transponders and three Ka-band transponders. Offering a design life of 15 years, it will be located at 16 degrees East to serve broadcasting markets in Central Europe and Indian Ocean islands. It will also initiate a new mission over Africa for data, telecom and broadband services.
The BSAT-3b satellite was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS) at its plant in Newtown, Pennsylvania, for the Japanese operator Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT). This satellite will be placed at the orbital position: 110 degrees East
The launch can be followed live today from 21.36 GMT on the special video website from Arianespace. Before the live coverage of the launch a short video can be seen on the site.