Payload preparations for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission are gearing up following this week’s delivery of Measat-3b – one of two satellite passengers for launch on the heavy-lift flight VA218 – to French Guiana.
This spacecraft was transported by a chartered An-124 cargo jetliner that landed at Félix Eboué International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne, and was unloaded for its transfer by road to the Spaceport.
In parallel activity, this mission’s Ariane 5 was moved today from the Launcher Integration Building to the Final Assembly Building – marking its delivery to Arianespace by vehicle prime contractor Airbus Defense and Space. With this step completed, the workhorse launcher is ready for integration of its dual-satellite payload.
Measat-3b – which was produced by Airbus Defence and Space based on the Eurostar E3000 platform – will be operated by Measat to support direct-to-home broadcast services for Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia. Positioned at 91.5 degrees East, Measat-3b will be co-located with the Measat-3 and Measat-3a satellites to form a robust Asian
Joining Measat-3b as its Ariane 5 flight co-passenger is Optus 10, which was produced by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for Australian telecommunications service provider Optus. It is outfitted with 24 Ku-band transponders to provide direct TV broadcast, internet connectivity, telephone and data transmission services for Australia and New Zealand.
Designated Flight VA218 in Arianespace’s numbering system, this upcoming mission represents the 218th launch of an Ariane family vehicle.