Press Release

Integration completed for Ariane Flight 165’s six auxiliary payloads

By SpaceRef Editor
November 26, 2004
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Integration completed for Ariane Flight 165’s six auxiliary payloads

The six auxiliary satellites to be orbited by Flight 165 have been mounted
on a dispenser ring that will be installed with the Ariane 5’s primary

These small satellites have varying missions, including communications with
remote scientific ground stations, studies of the Earth’s climate, and the
validation of technologies for a future space-based military electronic
intelligence (ELINT) system.

The integration operation began last week with the installation of Spain’s
Nanosat on the Ariane 5 dispenser ring. Nanosat is Spain’s first small
satellite, and it was built by the country’s INTA national space agency
(Instituto Nacional de T?©cnia Aeroespacial). With a weight of less than 20
kg., the spacecraft is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of applying
scaled-down components and sensors in mini satellites.

Nanosat carries extremely small magnetic and solar sensors, along with a
store-and-forward communications system that will relay information from
remote scientific facilities in Antarctica and elsewhere to a central
station in Madrid.

The next satellite integrated on the Ariane 5 dispenser ring was Parasol, a
small spacecraft from the French CNES National Space Agency that will study
the impact of aerosols and how they interact with clouds. This information
is to help scientists better understand the Earth’s climate.

Parasol is equipped with a wide-field imaging radiometer/polarimeter called
POLDER (Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectances),
designed in partnership with the LOA atmospheric optics laboratory in Lille,

During its planned two-year mission, Parasol is to join a so-called
"A-Train" of spacecraft with a full complement of instruments to observe
clouds and aerosols. Other satellites forming the "A-Train" will be Aqua and
Aura (from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Calipso
(a NASA/CNES project), CloudSat (a U.S./Canadian partnership involving
Colorado State University, NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the U.S. Air
Force and the U.S. Department of Energy), and the Orbiting Carbon
Observatory (NASA).

The final four satellites to be integrated on Flight 165’s Ariane 5
dispenser ring were the small Essaim spacecraft developed by the French
defense procurement agency (DGA) to validate technologies for a future
space-based electronic intelligence (ELINT) system. The Essaim spacecraft
are generally similar in overall size and appearance to the 120-kg. Parasol
satellite, and these four payloads were installed on the dispenser ring in a
series of steps completed early this week.

Liftoff of Flight 165 is planned for December 10 on a mission to
Sun-synchronous orbit. Its primary payload is Helios IIA, which is a
second-generation space-based military reconnaissance platform produced in a
French-led program that also involves Belgium and Spain.

SpaceRef staff editor.