Arianespace's Spaceport is alive with activity regarding its August 24 flight of two satellite passengers—both for U.S.-based operator Intelsat.
Designated Flight VA23. The mission to geostationary transfer orbit is also noteworthy as the sixth liftoff in 2016 by a member of Arianespace's launch vehicle family. The payload preparations have begun and they are undergoing checkout procedures at Spaceport's building 55. The two arrived separately, 33e and Intelsat 36 spacecraft were delivered via cargo jetliner to French Guiana’s Félix Eboué Airport near Cayenne.
Intelsat 33e, produced by Boeing Space Systems, takes 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 an 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 premier direct-to-home neighborhood in Africa.