Launch vehicle preparations for the next two Ariane 5 flights from French Guiana are moving forward at the Spaceport as Arianespace maintains the mission pace in 2012 with its heavy-lift workhorse.
Activity conducted this week included installation of customer graphics on the payload fairing for Ariane Flight VA210, which is to orbit the Eutelsat 21B and Star One C3 telecommunications satellites on a launch scheduled for November 9.
As with all Ariane 5 flights, the vehicle’s ogive-shaped payload fairing – which protects its spacecraft passengers during ascent through the denser atmospheric layers – is made available for logos and other images that represent the mission’s customers and their satellites. The fairing is jettisoned approximately three minutes after an Ariane 5’s liftoff.
For Flight VA210, team members working in the Ariane 5’s final assembly building placed large decals on the fairing with the Eutelsat logo and an artistic representation of Eutelsat 21B’s coverage area, along with a red and white logo for the Star One C3 satellite.
In parallel, a key milestone was reached for Arianespace’s Flight VA211 with the completion of initial build-up for its Ariane 5, which has been assembled inside the Spaceport’s launcher integration building. This stepwas marked with installation of the ESC-A upper stage and vehicle equipment bay as a single unit atop the vehicle’s cryogenic core stage.
Once additional integration and checkout steps are completed, the Ariane 5 will be ready for its transfer from the launcher integration building to the Spaceport’s final assembly building – currently occupied by Flight VA210’s Ariane 5.
The final assembly building will become available once the Ariane 5 for Flight VA210 is transferred from this facility to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone on the day before liftoff.
Arianespace’s Flight VA211 is targeted for mid-December with a dual-payload of the Skynet 5D and Mexsat 3 satellites.