Both payloads for Arianespace’s initial Ariane 5 flight of 2010 are now in French Guiana, following last week’s arrival of COMSATBw-2 at Rochambeau International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne.
COMSATBw-2 is a secure relay platform that will deliver key services for the German Bundeswehr (German armed forces), and is a follow-on spacecraft to COMSATBw-1 – which was orbited by Ariane 5 in October 2009.
Together, the COMSATBw satellites will provide a secure broadband network which guarantees uninterrupted communications between the government, military authorities and armed forces deployed around the world.
Based on the Spacebus 3000B2 platform, COMSATBw-2 was designed, integrated and tested by satellite prime contractor Thales Alenia Space on behalf of EADS Astrium – which is the program’s space segment prime contractor.
With this spacecraft’s delivery to French Guiana, COMSATBw-2 joins its “sister” payload for the upcoming mission – ASTRA 3B, which currently is undergoing pre-launch checkout at the Spaceport. ASTRA 3B was built by Astrium for commercial telecommunications operator SES ASTRA.
An Ariane 5 ECA will orbit COMSATBw-2 and ASTRA 3B from Europe’s Spaceport on March 24. This year-opening flight will initiate Arianespace’s busy launch schedule in 2010, which plans for seven missions with the heavy-lift vehicle.