[SatNews] Ariane 5 has been authorized for its April 24 liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana, with the go-ahead for this upcoming mission, which will orbit the THOR 7 and SICRAL 2 telecommunications satellites, given following the launch readiness review.
This pre-launch step, performed prior to each Arianespace mission, checked the “go” status of the heavy-lift launcher, the flight’s dual-passenger payload, the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of tracking stations which will follow the flight. With thiss “green light,” Ariane 5 is now cleared for its April 23 rollout from the Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone, where it will be prepared for liftoff on Friday during a launch window opening at 4:38 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
The payload lift performance for this first Ariane 5 mission of 2015, designated VA222 in Arianespace’s numbering system, is estimated at 9,850 kg. and includes a combined total of some 9,000 kg. for THOR 7 and SICRAL 2, along with the launcher’s SYLDA dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.
THOR 7—which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operation by Telenor Satellite Broadcasting—will ride in the upper position of Ariane 5’s payload arrangement, to be deployed first during the 34-minute flight sequence. To be released second as the mission’s lower passenger, SICRAL 2 is a military telecommunications satellite developed in the framework of a turnkey contract that the Italian Defense Ministry and the French DGA armament agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement) have with Thales Alenia Space Italy. Telespazio, among other things, is responsible for the launch service.