Ariane 5 ready for March 30 launch
Published: 09.07 Europe/London, March 30, 2011 by Robert Briel

The Ariane 5 is ready to launch two communication satellites, Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn on Wednesday, March 30. Preparations now are underway for the final countdown leading to liftoff during a launch window that opens at 6:45 p.m. local time in French Guiana and continues to 7:52 p.m.

The Ariane 5′s payload lift performance will be nearly 10,065 kg., which includes a mass of 8,965 kg. for its Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn satellite passengers, along with the associated integration hardware and the launcher’s SYLDA multi-payload dispenser system.

Riding as the upper passenger in Ariane 5′s payload “stack” is Yahsat Y1A, which will be released at approximately 27 minutes into the flight. The spacecraft will be utilized by the Al Yah Satellite Communications Company to provide customized relay services for the government and commercial sectors in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Southwest Asia.

With a liftoff mass of about 6,000 kg., Yahsat Y1A is based on Astrium’s Eurostar E3000 platform, and its communications payload was supplied by Thales Alenia Space.

Intelsat New Dawn is the first-ever African private sector communications satellite, and was produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation. It will be deployed from Ariane 5′s lower passenger at just over 35 minutes after liftoff.

This spacecraft is the result of a joint venture with a consortium led by Convergence Partners and Intelsat, the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services and a long-time Arianespace customer. Once in service, Intelsat New Dawn will be operated and marketed as a part of the global Intelsat fleet, bringing to 22 the number of Intelsat satellites serving Africa.

WATCH THE LAUNCH LIVE – The live webcast of the launch starts at 21.25 GMT on March 30 on the special Videocorner of Arianespace.