Arianespace’s sixth Ariane 5 flight of 2009 has been approved for its October 29 liftoff following the launch readiness review, performed at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
This traditional milestone prior to every Ariane mission validated the heavy-lift launch vehicle’s status, along with the NSS-12 and THOR 6 satellite payloads, the infrastructure at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and the network of downrange tracking stations.
The readiness review clears Ariane 5 for tomorrow’s transfer from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone, followed by a final countdown leading to the liftoff during a 1 hr. 40 minute launch window that opens on October 29 at 5:00 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
Ariane 5’s payload lift performance for this latest mission is 9,515 kg., which includes a combined total of about 8,700 kg. for the NSS-12 and THOR 6 spacecraft, plus the launch vehicle’s dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.
NSS-12 is riding in the upper position of Ariane 5’s payload “stack,” and will be deployed at 26 min., 36 sec. into the flight. This U.S.-built relay platform was produced by Space Systems/Loral using its SS/L 1300 platform, and weighs approximately 5,700 kg. for liftoff.
Outfitted with 48 active Ku-band transponders and 40 C-band transponders, NSS-12 will be operated by SES WORLD SKIES from a geostationary orbit of 57 degrees East – delivering direct-to-home television broadcast services for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.
THOR 6 is installed in the lower position of Ariane 5’s payload stack, and is planned for release at 31 min., 14 sec. into the mission. It will be the first satellite launched by Arianespace for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting AS, a subsidiary of the Norwegian operator Telenor, and weighs 3,000 kg.
THOR 6 was built by Europe’s Thales Alenia Space using a Spacebus 4000B2 platform, and is equipped with 36 Ku-band transponders. Operating from an orbital slot of 1 degree West, the spacecraft will distribute direct-to-home services to the Nordic region and throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
Arianespace’s upcoming flight with THOR 6 and NSS-12 will be followed by another mission before year-end. This Ariane 5 currently is in the Launcher Integration Building at the Spaceport, and is being readied for its transfer to the Final Assembly Building.