Preparations for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission marked an important milestone this week with the vehicle’s transfer from the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building – where it was assembled, to the Final Assembly Building – where the dual-passenger payload will be installed.
This procedure represented the heavy-lift launcher’s formal handover from industrial architect Airbus Defence and Space to Arianespace, which takes responsibility for incorporation of the two commercial telecommunications satellites, along with the Ariane 5’s final checkout and launch operations in French Guiana.
Targeted for a liftoff in September, this mission – designated Flight VA218 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – will orbit Measat-3b and Optus 10.
Measat-3b was produced by Airbus Defence and Space and is to be operated by MEASAT in supporting direct-to-home broadcast services for Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia.
Optus 10 was manufactured by Space Systems/Loral for Australian telecommunications service provider Optus, enabling direct TV broadcast, internet connectivity, telephone and data transmission services for Australia and New Zealand.