Preparations for Ariane 5s dual mission enters final phase

MUMBAI: Preparations for Arianespaces next Ariane 5 flight are entering their final phase as the missions dual-satellite payload is integrated at the Spaceport in French Guiana.

For the upper element of the payload stack, Indias Insat-4A spacecraft has been encapsulated in its ogive-shaped Ariane 5 payload fairing, which will protect the satellite during the launchers initial ascent.

It is the first in India's new Insat-4 telecommunications spacecraft series that will provide coverage over the Indian subcontinent and carries a mixed payload of 12 Ku-band and 12 C-band transponders. All the 12 Ku Band transponders have been leased out to the new Tata-Sky joint venture for DTH.

Produced by Switzerlands Contraves, the fairing carries noise suppression pads on its interior walls and is to be jettisoned at an altitude of approximately 100 km.

In parallel action at the Spaceport; the European MSG-2 meteorological spacecraft has been installed atop the Ariane 5. This places the spin-stabilised MSG-2 platform in the lower payload position on Ariane 5.

Liftoff of the Ariane 5 with Insat-4A and MSG-2 is set during a launch window that opens at 7:33 pm local time at the Spaceport and continues through 8:01 pm on 21 December (India time 4:03 am to 4:31 am on 22 December).

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