[SatNews] As Arianespace prepares to close out a busy year of mission activity, the initial Ariane 5 for launch in 2015 already is beginning to take shape at the Spaceport.
This vehicle started its build-up in the dedicated Launcher Integration Building, where the cryogenic core stage was raised into place over one of two mobile launch tables available for the heavy-lift Arianespace workhorse. To accompany the assembly process, Ariane 5's two solid propellant boosters were rolled out for their mating with the core stage, clearing the way for continued integration.
The activity is being performed by prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space, which will deliver the Ariane 5 to Arianespace for payload integration, final checkout and launch. Arianespace is targeting a liftoff next March for the launcher, which is to carry Telenor Satellite Broadcasting's THOR 7 commercial relay satellite and the Sicral 2 telecommunications platform for Telespazio, on behalf of the French and Italian military forces.
For the mission, THOR 7 is to ride in Ariane 5's upper passenger position, with Sicral 2 located below it in the SYLDA dispenser system. Designated Flight VA222, this launch will be the 222nd liftoff of an Ariane family vehicle from the Spaceport.
Follow Arianespace's launch activity at: http://www.arianespace.com/.