[SatNews] Payload preparations for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 launch are now in full swing, with the mission’s two satellite passengers—EUTELSAT 8 West B and Intelsat 34—undergoing checkout procedures at the Spaceport.
These pre-launch activities kicked off this month, following separate arrivals of the two spacecraft, both of which were delivered to French Guiana’s Félix Eboué Airport via cargo jetliner. After their subsequent transfers by road to the Spaceport, preparations for EUTELSAT 8 West B and Intelsat 34 commenced inside the facility’s S5C building.
Designated Flight VA225, this upcoming mission will mark the seventh liftoff in 2015 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.
EUTELSAT 8 West B—which will be operated by Eutelsat and the Egyptian satellite company Nilesat—will occupy the upper passenger position in Ariane 5’s dual-payload configuration. Produced by Thales Alenia Space, it is designed to bring powerful new satellite broadcasting resources for the Middle East and North Africa, primarily serving DTH markets.
Flight VA225’s other passenger, Intelsat 34, will be installed in the lower payload position on Ariane 5. It was built by SSL (Space Systems Loral) for operator Intelsat to meet the media distribution requirements of leading programmers for Latin America. In addition, the spacecraft will support advanced broadband service to maritime and aeronautical providers serving the North Atlantic.