The launcher’s two satellite passengers – Intelsat’s Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a for SSL on behalf of Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) – continue their final checkout at the French Guiana facility.
Following its build-up in the Launcher Integration Building, the Ariane 5 has been moved to the Final Assembly Building for the upcoming installation of Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a – which are now undergoing their own checkout processes in separate halls of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility.
The upcoming mission to geostationary transfer orbit is designated Flight VA239 in Arianespace’s numbering system, and will mark the 239th launch of an Ariane vehicle since the European launcher series entered service in 1979.
Built by Boeing using a 702MP spacecraft platform, Intelsat 37e is the next satellite in Intelsat’s high-throughput EpicNG series for launch.
It also will be the fourth EpicNG spacecraft orbited by Arianespace to date (following Ariane 5 missions with Intelsat 29e and Intelsat 33e in January and August 2016, respectively, plus last February’s heavy-lift flight that lofted Sky Brasil-1/Intelsat 32e).
Operating in the C, Ku and Ka frequency bands, the spacecraft will provide capacity for wireless backhaul, enterprise VSAT and mobility networks. Intelsat 37e, which is to carry out its mission from a 342 degrees East orbital slot, will weigh approximately 6,440 kg. at liftoff.
Arianespace is launching Flight VA239’s co-passenger, BSAT-4a, as part of a turnkey contract between B-SAT and US-based satellite manufacturer SSL. To be operated from an orbital position of 110 degrees East, this spacecraft will be used for DTH television relay in Japan and to expand the availability of advanced television services, such as 4K/8K ultra-high definition TV.
BSAT-4a is based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform and is fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders. It will weigh approximately 3,520 kg. at liftoff, with a design life that exceeds 15 years.