Arianespace's Ariane 5 mission campaign with the EUTELSAT 21B and Star One C3 telecommunications satellites has moved into the final phase following today's rollout of its heavy-lift vehicle to the Spaceport's ELA-3 launch zone in French Guiana.
Riding atop one of two operational mobile launch tables available for Ariane 5, this workhorse launcher was transferred from the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building - where its dual payload had been integrated last week.
With today's rollout completed, the final countdown will begin for an evening liftoff tomorrow during a launch window that opens at 6:05 p.m. local time in French Guiana and continues until 7:51 p.m.
This will be the 66th Ariane 5 liftoff, and the 210th flight of an Ariane family vehicle. It maintains Arianespace's sustained mission pace, coming after the five other Ariane 5 launches performed so far in 2012.
After being lofted by Ariane 5, EUTELSAT 21B will operate for Eutelsat Communications at 21.5* East - a major orbital position for data, professional video and government services, with coverage over Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. The spacecraft was built by Thales Alenia Space.
EUTELSAT 21B will offer significantly increased capacity, incorporating 40 Ku-band transponders compared to 29 on the EUTELSAT 21A relay platform it is to succeed, while offering improved power and coverage. In addition to an enhanced widebeam across Europe into North Africa and Central Asia, this satellite also features two dedicated high-power beams covering northwest Africa and the Middle East/Central Asia regions.
Star One C3 is the newest member in the third generation of satellites for Brazil's Star One - an Embratel company. Produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation with 28 C-band and 16 Ku-band transponders, the satellite will replace the Brasilsat B3 satellite, currently operating at the 75o W orbital position.
With a footprint encompassing Miami and the entire South America region - including the Andean countries of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela - Star One C3 will expand the capacity and coverage for TV, data and voice transmission services.
Additionally, Star One C3's reach will span the waters under Brazilian jurisdiction to the pre-salt area - the group of rocks located in marine portions of the country's coast, where there is potential for exploiting accumulations of oil. By providing coverage in this area, the satellite offers better communication possibilities for the oil and gas industry.