Europe’s Spaceport prepares for another record-setting Ariane 5 performance on May 26
Arianespace has set May 26 for the liftoff of its next Ariane 5 ECA mission, as the heavy-lift launcher and its dual-satellite payload advance through their preparation process at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
The Ariane 5 ECA is shown on its massive launch table in the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building. At the right is the table’s mast, which has propellant feed arms for the Ariane 5 ECA’s cryogenic upper stage.
Speaking to attendees at Arianespace’s 2006 Customer Seminar this week, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Yves Le Gall said the company remains on track for a busy 2006 - with a full manifest of six Ariane 5 launches targeted during the year.
“We have a mature vehicle with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA, and this capable launcher is backed up by a highly motivated workforce and a proven industrial production system,” Le Gall explained to invitees at the Customer Seminar, which brought together representatives from international satellite operators, spacecraft manufacturers and space agencies for a two-day briefing at the Spaceport.
Le Gall said the May 26 flight will set another payload record for a mission to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), with the launcher’s Satmex 6 and Thaicom 5 satellite passengers weighing in at a combined payload mass of 8.3 metric tons.
Both Satmex 6 and Thaicom 5 are in the Spaceport’s state-of-the-art S5 satellite preparation facility, while the Ariane 5 ECA is completing its initial build-up in the Launcher Integration Building.
Satmex 6 was produced by Space Systems/Loral using the manufacturer’s FS-1300X spacecraft bus, and it will be operated by Mexico’s Satelites Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V. Thaicom 5 is based on Alcatel Alenia Space’s Spacebus satellite design, and it will join the fleet of Thailand’s Shin Satellite Public Company Limited.