Published: 07.36 Europe/London, May 19, 2011

Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 flight of 2011 has been approved for its May 20 liftoff following a successful launch readiness review performed at the Spaceport in French Guiana. The launch will bring two communication satellites, ST-2 and GSAT-8, into orbit.

The upcoming launch from the Spaceport was pushed back from its original launch timing by 24 hours to allow for additional checks of the Ariane 5.

To be deployed first during the 31-minute flight sequence, ST-2 will be utilized by the ST-2 Satellite Ventures joint company of Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) and Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom Company for Ku- and C-band relay services across the Middle East, Central Asia, India and Southeast Asia. The spacecraft was built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Company using a DS2000 platform, and will have an estimated liftoff mass of 5,090 kg.

Located below ST-2 in the launcher payload “stack” is the mission’s lower passenger, GSAT-8 – which was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) using its I-3K satellite bus. This satellite will weigh approximately 3,100 kg. at liftoff, and carries 24 transponders to augment India’s Ku-band relay capabilities. In addition, GSAT-8 also is equipped with the two-channel GAGAN system for aircraft navigation assistance over Indian airspace and adjoining areas.

The launch can be followed live from the special Arianespace video website. Covergae starts on Friday, May 20 at 20.28 GMT. At the moment, an informative video is shown about the launch and the two spacecrafts.