Fourth Ariane 5 launch
Third Ariane 5 launch
Second Ariane of 2006
October 27, 2006
Assembly begins for the fifth Ariane 5 to be launched in 2006
The fifth Ariane 5 to be operated by Arianespace in 2006 is now taking shape at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana for a liftoff in December with a dual-satellite payload for U.S. operators.
Ariane 5's core cryogenic stage is raised for positioning over the mobile launch table.
Activity began this week as the heavy-lift vehicle's cryogenic core stage was positioned over the mobile launch table inside the Spaceport's assembly building. This will be followed by the mating of Ariane 5's two solid boosters.
As with Arianespace's four previous missions performed since January, the year-ending Ariane 5 flight will carry two primary satellite passengers: the WildBlue-1 broadband connectivity spacecraft for WildBlue, and the AMC-18 multi-mission relay platform for SES AMERICOM.
AMC-18's payload of 24 C-band transponders will distribute cable television services to the 50 United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. It will expand SES AMERICOM's fleet of satellites, which provide the distribution of cable, broadcast television and radio, telecommunications services, business television and broadband data throughout the Americas and transoceanic regions. AMC-18 is manufactured by Lockheed Martin Commercial Satellite Systems and is based on the company's A2100 spacecraft bus.
The WildBlue-1 satellite will enable WildBlue to expand its satellite broadband connectivity to homes and small businesses in U.S. communities where terrestrial broadband access is either limited or unavailable. This 4.7-metric ton high-power satellite is based on Space Systems/Loral's 1300 spacecraft bus, and will provide Ka-band spot beam capacity over the contiguous United States.
Source: Arianespace Mission Updates