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January 11th, 2016

Arianespace Hosts Intelsat's EpicNG...Inside Final Assembly Building...First Launch Of 2016 

Riding atop one of two operational launch tables at the Spaceport, the Ariane 5 for Flight VA228 nears completion of its transfer to the Final Assembly Building in the photo at left; while at right, Intelsat 29e is shown during its transfer within the S5 payload preparation building to the S5A fueling and integration hall.

[Satnews] Ariane 5 is on the move as launcher and payload preparations continue in French Guiana for Arianespace's first flight of 2016, which will orbit the initial EpicNG high-throughput satellite for global operator Intelsat.

The heavy-lift vehicle for this upcoming mission, designated Flight VA228, is now located inside the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building following its transfer by rail from the Launcher Integration Building atop a mobile launch table.

With Ariane 5 now under Arianespace's responsibility, the launcher is in position to receive its Intelsat 29e payload, which will be followed by
final verifications and subsequent rollout to the Spaceport's ELA-3 complex for a January 27 liftoff.

Intelsat 29e's own preparations are advancing in parallel activity at the Spaceport's S5 payload processing building. Having already completed its initial check-out process inside this state-of-the-art facility's S5C clean room, the Boeing-built satellite is now being transferred to the S5A fueling and integration hall.

As the first of the Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellites, Intelsat 29e will have one of the most advanced digital payloads commercially available—delivering enterprise-grade, broadband services to fixed and mobile network operators, aero and maritime mobility service providers, and government customers operating throughout the Americas.

Intelsat 29e also has the distinction of being a solo telecommunications satellite on a dedicated Ariane 5 flight, which is in contrast to the typical two-passenger configuration for this launcher on missions to geostationary transfer orbit.

The January 27 liftoff will kick off another busy year of mission activity for Arianespace, which is targeting a 2016 performance of up to 11 flights using its full launcher family, consisting of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega, in side-by-side operation at the Spaceport.