The Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite on Arianespace's 2013 year-opening Ariane 5 mission has undergone its fit-check as preparations move ahead for the February 7 dual-passenger flight from French Guiana.
During activity in the Spaceport's S1B clean room facility, this telecommunications relay platform was initially mated with the cone-shape adapter that will serve as its interface with the launcher's payload "stack." Following completion of this milestone, Azerspace/Africasat-1a was transferred to the larger S5 payload preparation building at the Spaceport, where it will be fueled.
Orbital Sciences Corporation designed and built Azerspace/Africasat-1a under contract to the Republic of Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies - which is the shareholder in the country's national satellite operator, Azercosmos.
The satellite is based on Orbital's STAR-2 platform, and will have a liftoff mass of approximately 3,250 kg., with a designed mission life of 15 years. It carries 36 active C- and Ku-band transponders, enabling the spacecraft to provide communications coverage for Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa from an orbital location of 46 deg. East.
Azerspace/Africasat-1a is to be orbited along with Amazonas 3 on the upcoming Ariane 5 flight - the first of six missions planned for Arianespace's heavy-lift workhorse in 2013.