Press Release

Ariane 5 moves to the launch zone with its heavyweight payload

By SpaceRef Editor
August 10, 2005
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Ariane 5 moves to the launch zone with its heavyweight payload

 Preparations for Arianespace’s upcoming flight of Ariane 5 with its THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR) satellite entered their final phase today as the launcher moved out to the ELA-3 launch zone at the Spaceport in French Guiana.

The completed Ariane 5 Generic vehicle emerged from the final assembly building at 11:15 a.m. (local time in French Guiana) under cloudy skies, riding atop its massive mobile launch table for the 2.8-km.-long rollout to the launch zone. The transfer used a dual rail line that links together the Spaceport’s major facilities, and the process was completed when the table was locked in position over large flame ducts for Ariane 5’s two solid rocket motors and its core stage Vulcain cryogenic main engine.

Liftoff of Ariane 5 is scheduled for August 11 at the start of a two-hour launch window that opens at 3:39 a.m. local time in French Guiana (06h39 GMT, 01:39 p.m. in Bangkok, and 08:39 a.m. in Paris).

THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR) will be the heaviest commercial satellite ever delivered to geosynchronous orbit. Built for Shin Satellite Plc of Thailand by Space Systems/Loral, the large telecom platform has a liftoff mass of 14,300 lb. (6,486 kg.), and is to provide Internet access service throughout 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The satellite will generate 14 kW of electrical power during its planned 12-year service life, and will operate with 7 on-board antennas to create 112 spot and regional beams in the Ku and Ka frequency bands.

SpaceRef staff editor.