Astra 5B being readied for launch

March 14, 2014 07.58 Europe/London By Robert Briel

Picture: SES
Picture: SES
The Astra 5B satellite, one of two passengers for Arianespaceís next Ariane 5 mission, has been delivered to the Spaceportís Final Assembly Building, marking a step in payload integration.

Astra 5B Ė built by Airbus Defence and Space for global satellite operator SES Ė was transported this week from the Spaceportís S5 payload preparation facility, where the spacecraft underwent pre-flight checkout and received its onboard propellant. The transfer took place at night in order to reduce thermal loads on the satellite.

After its deployment by Ariane 5, Astra 5B will extend SESí transponder capacity and geographical reach over Eastern Europe and neighbouring markets, delivering direct-to-home, direct-to-cable and contribution feeds to digital terrestrial television networks. The spacecraft also carries a hosted L-band payload for the European Commissionís European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).

Astra 5B will be joined on the flight by Hispasatís Amazonas 4A satellite, which will provide enhanced relay capacity over Latin America and an extended range of communications and television services. Amazonas 4A was produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

The upcoming Ariane 5 mission Ė designated VA216 in Arianespaceís numbering system Ė is set for March 21 from the Spaceport, with liftoff scheduled during a launch window opening at 7:05 p.m. local time in French Guiana.