[SatNews] The EUTELSAT 8 West B telecommunications satellite for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission is now in French Guiana, enabling payload preparations to begin for a scheduled August 20 flight from the Spaceport.
This relay platform for Eutelsat Communications was transported from Nice Airport in France aboard a chartered Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft, which arrived in French Guiana at Cayenne’s Félix Eboué Airport.
After transportation by road to the Spaceport, the Thales Alenia Space-built EUTELSAT 8 West B will undergo final checkout and integration with Ariane 5 for liftoff from the South American launch facility, where Arianespace operates its family of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-weight Soyuz and light-lift Vega vehicles.
On the upcoming mission, which is designated Flight VA225 in Arianespace’s numbering system, EUTELSAT 8 West B will occupy the upper passenger position in Ariane 5’s dual-payload configuration. The 5.8-metric-ton-class relay platform is designed to bring powerful new satellite broadcasting resources for Eutelsat Communications to the Middle East and North Africa—equipped with 40 operational Ku-band transponders primarily to serve direct-to-home (DTH) markets.
EUTELSAT 8 West B also will introduce a C-band mission to the 8 degrees West geostationary orbital slot, with 10 operational transponders connected to footprints covering the African continent and reaching west to South America.
This high-capacity spacecraft is to join satellites already operated at the adjacent 7 degrees West position by Eutelsat and the Egyptian satellite company Nilesat, and will go into full commercial service early October following a checkout to validate its performance in orbit.
Joining EUTELSAT 8 West B on Arianespace’s Flight VA225 is Intelsat 34, built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for Intelsat, which is to have a liftoff mass of more than three metric tons. Specially developed to meet the media distribution requirements of leading programmers for Latin America, Intelsat 34 also will support advanced broadband service to maritime and aeronautical providers serving the North Atlantic.
The August 20 liftoff with Intelsat 34 and EUTELSAT 8 West B will maintain Arianespace’s sustained mission pace in 2015, and follows the company’s six launches performed so far this year, which have carried a total of 10 payloads. These were: Ariane 5 Flight VA224 on July 15 (orbiting Star One C4 and MSG-4), Vega Flight VV05 on June 22 (Sentinel-2A); Flight VA223 with Ariane 5 on May 27 (lofting DirecTV-15 and SKY México-1), Ariane 5 Flight VA222 on April 26 (with THOR 7 and SICRAL 2), Soyuz Flight VS11 on March 27 (which orbited two Galileo Full Operational Capability satellites); and Vega Flight VV04 on February 11 (performing a suborbital mission with the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle spaceplane).