Payload preparations for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission are now in full swing, with this August 24 flight’s two satellites for US-based operator Intelsat undergoing their checkout procedures at the Spaceport.
These pre-launch activities are underway in the Spaceport’s S5 building, following separate arrivals of the Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 spacecraft, both of which were delivered via cargo jetliner to French Guiana’s Félix Eboué Airport near Cayenne.
Designated Flight VA232, this upcoming mission to geostationary transfer orbit will mark the sixth liftoff in 2016 by a member of Arianespace’s launch vehicle family, which consists of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-size Soyuz and lightweight Vega – as well as the fourth liftoff this year using a workhorse Ariane 5.
Intelsat 33e, produced by Boeing Space Systems, will occupy the upper passenger position in Ariane 5’s dual-payload configuration, to be released first during the launch sequence on August 24.
With a liftoff mass estimated at 6,575 kg., Intelsat 33e is the second spacecraft of the next-generation Intelsat EpicNG series and integrates one of the most advanced digital payloads available commercially today. The first EpicNG-series satellite – Intelsat 29e – was successfully orbited on an Ariane 5 mission performed in January.
Intelsat 36, which has an estimated liftoff mass of 3,250 kg., is to be installed in the lower payload position on its Ariane 5 launcher. Built by SSL (Space Systems Loral), the satellite will enhance Intelsat’s DTH neighbourhood in Africa.
(Picture shows Intelsat 33e arriving at the Spaceport)