Ariane Flight VA217
The ABS-2 spacecraft has been “topped off” at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana as preparations continue for its launch on Arianespace’s year-opening Ariane 5 mission, which is scheduled for a February 6 liftoff.
Loading of ABS-2’s onboard propellant was performed in the S5B hall of the Spaceport’s large S5 payload preparation facility. This marked a key step ahead of the satellite’s upcoming integration in Ariane 5’s payload “stack,” where ABS-2 will be joined by its Athena-Fidus co-passenger – which also is being readied in French Guiana for launch.
ABS-2 is one of the most powerful commercial spacecraft for the Eastern Hemisphere, to deliver more than 12 kW of payload power and up to 89 active C-, Ku- and Ka-band transponders across 10 different beams. It will be operated by ABS, one of the world’s fastest-growing premium global satellite operators that was established to meet the growing demands of broadcast and telecommunications operators in Africa, Russia, Asia and the Middle East.
The ABS-2 relay platform was built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), and will provide multiple services that include direct-to-home and cable television distribution, VSAT, data networks and telecommunications, as well as the supply of substantial new capacity from the operator’s prime orbital location at 75 deg. East.
Arianespace’s year-opening mission with the ABS-2 and Athena-Fidus payloads is designated Flight VA217 in the company’s numbering system, signifying the 217th launch of an Ariane vehicle since the European-developed launcher family began operations on December 24, 1979.
Flight VA217’s Athena-Fidus co-passenger will provide data transmission services for the French and Italian defense ministries, as well as these countries' security organizations. This satellite was produced by program prime contractor Thales Alenia Space on behalf of the French CNES and Italian ASI space agencies, as well as the French DGA and Italian Segredifesa defense ministry organizations.
Date: Jan 21, 2014