[SatNews] The heavy-lift Ariane 5 for Arianespace's year-opening February 6 flight from French Guiana is now complete following integration of its full payload "stack," consisting of the ABS-2 and Athena-Fidus advanced relay platforms.
Encapsulated in its ogive-shaped protective fairing, ABS-2 was lowered into place yesterday over Athena-Fidus - which had been installed atop Ariane 5's cryogenic core stage during activity earlier in the week. These integration steps were performed inside the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5, and enable a new series of preparation milestones to begin. They include the launch readiness review on February 4, followed by Ariane 5's rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone the subsequent day.
Liftoff is scheduled during a 2-hr., 5-min. launch window opening February 6 at 5:30 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the two spacecraft to be deployed on a flight lasting approximately 32 minutes. Ariane 5 will deliver a payload lift performance of more than 10,200kg during the mission, which includes a combined total of over 9,400kg for ABS-2 and Athena-Fidus, plus the launch vehicle's dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.
ABS-2 will ride as the mission's upper passenger, to be deployed first in its flight sequence. Produced by Space Systems/Loral (SSL) for global satellite operator ABS, it is designed to provide multiple services that include direct-to-home and cable television distribution, VSAT, data networks and telecommunications, as well as the supply of substantial new capacity from the operator's prime orbital location at 75 degrees East.
Athena-Fidus will be released second from Ariane 5's lower payload position. The satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space as program prime contractor, operating on behalf of the French CNES and Italian ASI space agencies, as well as the French DGA and Italian Segredifesa defense ministry organizations. After deployment by Ariane 5, it will provide data transmission services for the French and Italian defense ministries, as well as these countries' security organizations.