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Satnews Daily
December 2nd, 2014

Ariane 5 Rarin' to Lift Payloads x 2 Passengers...GSAT-16 for India + DIRECTV-14 + GSAT-16 

[SatNews] So far, so good for December 4th launch of two passengers.

Arianespace’s sixth heavy-lift mission of 2014 has been given the go-ahead for Thursday’s liftoff from the Spaceport on a dual-passenger Ariane 5 flight carrying the DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 satellites.

The approval was provided today at completion of the launch readiness review, which is held prior to every Arianespace mission to validate the readiness of Ariane 5 with its two payloads, as well as the Spaceport’s status and the tracking stations downrange.

This clears the Ariane 5 for its transfer tomorrow from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone, where the final countdown will begin.

Scheduled for liftoff during a 1-hr., 10-min. launch window that opens at 5:38 p.m. local time on December 4 in French Guiana, the two spacecraft will be deployed during a flight lasting approximately 32 minutes.

Payload lift performance for Ariane 5 is more than 10,200 kg., which includes a combined total of some 9,480 kg. for the DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 passengers, plus the launch vehicle’s dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.

DIRECTV-14 is installed in the upper payload position on Ariane 5, and is the larger of this mission’s two passengers.  As a 20-kilowatt class Ka-band and reverse-band digital broadcast satellite built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral), it will deliver Ultra HD and other new consumer services for DIRECTV.

Located in the launcher’s lower payload slot, GSAT-16 was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and carries Ku- and C-band transponders to further augment communication services across India.

Thursday’s Ariane 5 mission is designated Flight VA221 in Arianespace’s launcher system numbering system, signifying the 221st liftoff of an Ariane family vehicle from the Spaceport in French Guiana. 

Follow Arianespace's launch activity here.