The second passenger for Arianespace's upcoming Ariane 5 mission has arrived in French Guiana with today's delivery of the Astrium-built ASTRA 2F satellite, which will be operated by Luxembourg-based SES.
ASTRA 2F was transported by a chartered An-124 cargo jetliner that landed at Felix Eboue International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne, and was unloaded for transfer by road to the Spaceport.
This powerful six metric ton-class relay platform utilizes Astrium's Eurostar E3000 satellite bus and carries Ku- and Ka-band payloads for the delivery of high performance Direct-to-Home (DTH) and next-generation broadband services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Its planned orbital location at 28.2 degrees East is one of SES' prime positions that serves such premium broadcasters as BSkyB, the BBC, ITV and Channel 5. From this geostationary slot, SES delivers programming to almost 13 million satellite homes and over three million cable homes, as well as 700,000 Internet Protocol television (IPTV) homes in the U.K. and Ireland. Additionally, 28.2 degrees East is used by SES to broadcast numerous channels for the growing DTH platforms in sub-Saharan Africa.
This satellite will be orbited on Arianespace's September 21 Ariane 5 mission along with India's GSAT-10 telecommunications spacecraft, which has been undergoing its pre-launch checkout at the Spaceport during the past several weeks. With an estimated liftoff mass of 3,400 kg., GSAT-10 was produced by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) using its I-3K satellite bus.
ISRO has equipped GSAT-10 with Ku-, C-band and extended C-band transponders, and it is to become part of the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system of geostationary spacecraft. The platform also has the GAGAN (GPS and GEO augmented navigation) payload to support the Indian government's implementation of a satellite-based regional capability for assisting aircraft navigation over the country's airspace and in adjoining areas.
Arianespace's September 21 launch will be the company's fifth heavy-lift mission in 2012 with its workhorse vehicle, following flights on August 2 carrying the Intelsat 20 and HYLAS 2 satellites (the 50th consecutive launch success for Ariane 5); on July 5 with EchoStar XVII and MSG-3; on May 15 with JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2; and March 23's liftoff with the Edoardo Amaldi Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).