The Ariane 5 for the 5th heavy-lift mission of 2013 arrives in French Guiana

Ariane Flight VA216

Another heavy-lift Ariane 5 has been delivered to French Guiana as Arianespace maintains its commercial mission pace in 2013 with the company’s launcher family.

The latest Ariane 5 was delivered yesterday by the MN Toucan, which is one of two roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ships that transport Arianespace’s Soyuz, Ariane 5 and Vega vehicles from Europe to the company’s South America operating base.  Its elements were unloaded at Pariacabo Port adjacent to the city of Kourou, positioning them for the transfer by road to the nearby Spaceport.

This new launcher will be used for Flight VA216 – the fifth mission planned in 2013 with the workhorse Ariane 5 from French Guiana.  Previous heavy-lift flights performed during the year were Flight VA214, which orbited the Alphasat and INSAT-3D satellites on July 25; Flight VA213, carrying the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Albert Einstein on June 5; and Flight VA212, orbiting the Amazonas 3 and Azerspace/Africasat-1a spacecraft on February 7.

Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 launch, designated Flight VA215, is targeted for August 29 to orbit the Eutelsat 25B/Es’hail-1 and GSAT-7 payloads.  Initial vehicle build-up has been completed at the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building for Ariane 5, readying it for rollout to the Final Assembly Building. Once this move occurs, the Launcher Integration Building will be available for assembly start-up with the newly-delivered Ariane 5 for Flight VA216.

In addition to the heavy-lift Ariane 5 launch activity during 2013 at the Spaceport, Arianespace also performed a Vega mission from French Guiana on May 7, which carried the Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 spacecraft; and a June 25 flight with Soyuz that lofted a cluster of four O3b Networks satellites. 

Completing Arianespace’s activity to date was a Soyuz flight from Baikonur Cosmodrome, performed on February 6 by the company’s Starsem affiliate.

Source: Arianespace
Date: Aug 7, 2013