DirecTV-15, the first of these two spacecraft to arrive in French Guiana, has completed its initial checkout, and subsequently was loaded with onboard propellant in the S5A hall of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility. This marked a key step ahead of the satellite’s upcoming integration in the Ariane 5 payload arrangement, where DirecTV-15 will be joined by its SKYM-1 co-passenger, which was delivered to French Guiana via cargo jetliner on April 17, and is now undergoing its own checkout process at the Spaceport.
Scheduled for May, the Ariane 5 flight with DirecTV-15 and SKYM-1 is designated VA223 in Arianespace’s numbering system—signifying the 223rd liftoff of an Ariane-series vehicle since 1979.
DirecTV-15, one of the most powerful broadcast satellites ever built for the United States (with an 18-kW end-of-life power), based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, was produced by Airbus Defence and Space. After its deployment by Ariane 5, the relay platform will provide additional services for more than 20 million customers of DIRECTV, operating in Ku-band, Ka-band and R-band from several orbital positions.
SKYM-1 was built by Orbital ATK, Inc. based on its GEOStar-2™ platform. Carrying 24 active Ku-band transponders and two active R-band transponders, it will deliver direct-to-home broadcast services to the Mexico, Central America and Caribbean regions.