[SatNews] The fourth Ariane 5 for liftoff in 2015 has begun its integration process at the Spaceport, maintaining Arianespace’s mission pace during another busy year of launch activity from its French Guiana operational base.
This heavy-lift vehicle will be used for Flight VA225 in August, which will deliver two relay satellites—EUTELSAT 8 West B and Intelsat 34—to geostationary transfer orbit. The mission’s designation signifies Ariane’s 225th mission since the European-built series of launch vehicles began operation in 1979.
Build-up of the Ariane 5 is following well-established procedures at the Spaceport, with its cryogenic core stage initially positioned over one of two operational launch tables, followed by the mating of two solid propellant boosters. This occurred in the Spaceport’s Ariane 5 Launcher
Integration Building, clearing the way for an initial vehicle “top-off” with installation of its cryogenic upper stage and equipment bay atop the core stage.
Ariane 5 will then be made ready for transfer to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building, where the EUTELSAT 8 West B and Intelsat 34 payloads are to be installed. The Final Assembly Building currently is occupied by another Ariane 5 that will be rolled out next week for Arianespace’s Flight VA224, which is to loft the Star One C4 telecommunications satellite for Brazil and Europe’s MSG-4 meteorological platform on July 8.
For Flight VA225, EUTELSAT 8 West B will occupy the upper passenger position in Ariane 5’s dual-payload configuration. It is designed to bring powerful new satellite broadcasting resources for the Middle East and North Africa, utilizing a 5.8-metric-ton-class relay platform manufactured by Thales Alenia Space.
Equipped with 40 operational Ku-band transponders designed primarily to serve direct-to-home (DTH) markets, the high-capacity EUTELSAT 8 West B spacecraft is to be located at a geostationary orbit slot of 8 deg. West, joining satellites already operated at the adjacent 7 deg. West position by Eutelsat and the Egyptian satellite company Nilesat.
Supporting the dynamic “digital neighborhood” for Eutelsat TV relay services
EUTELSAT 8 West B also will introduce a C-band mission to the 8 degrees West orbital slot, with 10 operational transponders connected to footprints covering the African continent and reaching west to South America.
Eutelsat Communications—which will operate EUTELSAT 8 West B after its launch by Arianespace—calls the 7/8 deg. West “video neighborhood” one of the most dynamic in the global satellite TV market, with a rapidly growing audience and channel line-up. An estimated 52 million homes in North Africa and the Middle East already are equipped for DTH reception of more than 1,200 Arabic and international channels broadcast at this position by Eutelsat and Nilesat.
Flight VA225’s other passenger, Intelsat 34, will be installed in the lower payload position on Ariane 5 and is to have a liftoff mass of more than 3 metric tons. Specially designed to meet the media distribution requirements of leading programmers for Latin America, this satellite also will support advanced broadband service to maritime and aeronautical providers serving the North Atlantic.
A 15-year in-orbit service life for Intelsat 34
Intelsat 34 was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) of Palo Alto, California and is designed to deliver service for 15 years or longer. It will bring replacement relay capacity for two other satellites at 304.5 degrees East longitude.
The Ariane 5 mission with Intelsat 34 and EUTELSAT 8 West B is to be the seventh Arianespace flight of 2015 with the company’s launcher family, composed of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega.
In addition to Arianespace’s upcoming Flight VA224 mission with Ariane 5 on July 8, the company’s five missions performed so far in 2015 are:
- Vega Flight VV05 on June 22 with Sentinel-2A
- Flight VA223 with Ariane 5 on May 27, orbiting DirecTV-15 and SKY México-1
- Ariane 5’s Flight VA222 on April 26, carrying THOR 7 and SICRAL 2
- Soyuz Flight VS11 on March 27, which orbited two Galileo Full Operational Capability satellites
- Vega Flight VV04 on February 11, performing a suborbital mission with the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) spaceplane.