Thursday, June 27, 2013

One of the world’s most sophisticated communications satellites

Arianespace is keeping up the mission pace at its French Guiana spaceport with the acceptance of another heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket, which now is being readied for the integration of a dual-satellite payload to be orbited on July 25.

Designated Flight VA214 (signifying the 214th liftoff of an Ariane-series vehicle), the mission will mark the 70th launch of an Ariane 5. The vehicle will carry the INSAT-3D meteorological satellite along with the Alphasat communications relay platform.


INSAT-3D was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and carries weather forecasting payloads along with a search and rescue relay system. Its liftoff mass will be approximately 2,100 kilograms.

As part of the pre-launch checkout process, INSAT-3D underwent a test deployment of its solar panels in the spaceport’s clean room facilities – which is a typical checkout step performed by ISRO with its satellites once they are in French Guiana.


Riding as co-passenger on the upcoming Ariane 5 flight is Europe’s Alphasat, which is ranked as one of the world’s most sophisticated communications satellites. Alphasat carries a new-generation advanced mobile L-band communications payload along with four technological demonstration payloads for the European Space Agency (ESA).

Built by Astrium, Alphasat will have a mass of more than six metric tons at launch, and is to be operated under an agreement between the ESA and European commercial satellite operator Inmarsat.

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