Arianespace readies Eutelsat W3B launch
By Robert Briel
Published: September 12, 2010 10.43 Europe/London

Arianespace has announced that the fourth Ariane 5 launcher of 2010 is ready to receive its dual-passenger payload. The operator will perform three more launches this year.

The Spaceport’s Ariane 5 Final Assembly Building has welcomed its fourth heavy-lift launcher of 2010 as preparations move ahead for Arianespace’s dual-satellite mission with the Eutelsat W3B and B-SAT Corporation BSAT-3bpayloads on October 28 from French Guiana.

The Eutelsat W3B satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space, and is based on the manufacturer’s Spacebus 4000 platform and has a liftoff mass of 5,400 kg. The satellite will be positioned at 16 degrees East, where its initial mission will be to renew and double capacity for digital TV in Central and Eastern Europe and French-speaking Indian Ocean islands. This new satellite will also open new resources for data services over Africa.

This Ariane 5 moved from the Launcher Integration Building to the Final Assembly Building last week, marking its delivery to Arianespace by vehicle prime contractor EADS Astrium Space Transportation.

A total of six Ariane 5 missions are targeted for 2010, with the following launch planned at the end of November to orbit Intelsat 17 and HYLAS-1. The year’s concluding flight is set for late December with either the no. 2 Automated Transfer Vehicle as its solo payload, or a dual-satellite launch carrying the Hispasat 1E and Koreasat 6 spacecraft.

The three launches conducted so far this year by Arianespace have orbited six satellites, delivering a combined payload lift performance of nearly 24,600 kg. into orbit.