Status Report

The Second Satellite Arrives for Arianespace’s Upcoming Heavy-lift Ariane 5 Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
July 30, 2013
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Payload preparations for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission are moving into their full pace with the delivery of its second passenger – EUTELSAT 25B/ Es’hail 1 – to French Guiana, joining GSAT-7, which arrived earlier this month.

The EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 spacecraft was transported to South America aboard an Antonov An-124 cargo jetliner, which landed on July 27 at Félix Eboué Airport near the French Guiana capital city of Cayenne.  After the unloading process – aided by the giant aircraft’s tilt-up nose and its forward “kneeling” capability – the protective container with EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 was readied for transportation by road to the Spaceport, some 65 kilometers away.

Built by SSL in the U.S., this satellite will assist European telecommunications operator Eutelsat and Qatar’s Es’hailSat satellite company in responding to demand for the fastest-growing applications in the Middle East and North Africa – including video broadcasting, enterprise communications and government services.

In addition to securing Ku-band continuity for Eutelsat and additional Ku-band resources for Es’hailSat, EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 will initiate a Ka-band capability that opens business opportunities for both parties. 

The spacecraft is based on SSL’s proven 1300 satellite bus, and will provide a follow-on to the EUTELSAT 25C satellite, which currently is operated at 25.5° East.  Liftoff mass of EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 will be more than 6,000 kg.

For Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 flight, targeted for August 29, EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 is to ride in the upper position of the heavy-lift launcher’s payload “stack.” 

Located below it will be the Indian GSAT-7 telecommunications satellite, which arrived in French Guiana on July 11 and has been undergoing checkout in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility. 

With an estimated liftoff mass of 2,650 kg., GSAT-7 was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation and carries relay payloads in UHF, S-band, C-band and Ku-band. 

GSAT-7 and EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 will be lofted by Flight VA215, as designated in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the 215th mission with the Ariane series of launch vehicles.

It will be the fourth heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission in 2013, and follows last week’s on-target Flight VA214, which orbited Alphasat, the largest telecommunications platform ever built by Europe, along with India’s INSAT-3D meteorological platform – which uses the same basic spacecraft bus as GSAT-7.

In addition to the three Ariane 5 liftoffs performed so far this year by Arianespace at the Spaceport, the company’s other launch vehicles also have been active.  Its medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega performed one launch each from French Guiana, while Arianespace’s Starsem affiliate conducted a Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

As a result, the combined flights of these three Arianespace family launchers have orbited a total of 18 payloads to date in 2013.

SpaceRef staff editor.