Arianespace's first Ariane 5 for launch in 2013 is now ready to receive its two satellite passengers after this heavy-lift launcher was moved to the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building in French Guiana.
The Ariane 5 rolled out yesterday from the Launcher Integration Building - where its core cryogenic stage, two solid boosters and cryogenic upper stage were assembled by prime contractor Astrium Space Transportation, to the Final Assembly Building for delivery to Arianespace.
Under Arianespace's responsibility, the launcher is now ready to receive its Azerspace/Africasat-1a and Amazonas 3 payloads, followed by final verifications and transfer to the launch zone for a liftoff on February 7.
This will be one of six Ariane 5 flights targeted by Arianespace in 2013, maintaining the workhorse vehicle's sustained mission pace at the Spaceport. Also planned from French Guiana during the year are five liftoffs with Arianespace's two other launcher family members: four medium-lift Soyuz flights and one with the light-lift Vega. In addition, a Soyuz launch is scheduled from Baikonur Cosmodrome, operated on behalf of Arianespace by its Starsem affiliate.
Azerspace/Africasat-1a was produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation 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. Based on Orbital's STAR-2 platform, the satellite will have a liftoff mass of approximately 3,250 kg. It carries 36 active C- and Ku-band transponders, enabling the spacecraft to provide communications coverage for Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe and Africa during a designed mission life of 15 years from an orbital location of 46 deg. East.
Amazonas 3 was built by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California based on the company's 1300-series platform, and will have a liftoff mass of 6,200 kg. This spacecraft is to be located at a 61o West orbital slot - positioning it for coverage across the entire American continent, along with Europe and North Africa. Amazonas 3 will operate in the Ka-, Ku- and C-bands, with an operating design lifetime of more than 15 years.