Not wanting to take unnecessary risks the launch of the year-opening Ariane 5 mission was delayed today after an anomaly occurred in a launcher subsystem during final count-down operations. A decision was made by Arianespace to replace this part, resulting in the postponement of several days.
Both the Ariane 5 and its mixed civilian and military telecommunications satellite payload of ASTRA 3B and COMSATBw-2 have been placed in stand-by mode and are maintained in fully safe conditions at the Spaceport. The heavy-lift vehicle was rolled back to the Final Assembly Building, with launch team members working in three shifts to replace and test the component.
The Spaceport “Any mass, to any orbit, anytime”
This first flight of 2010 is another of Ariane 5’s dual-payload missions. ASTRA 3B is installed in the upper passenger position of Ariane 5’s payload “stack”, and will provide direct-to-home broadcast services and two-way broadband relay across Europe and the Middle East. Produced by EADS Astrium, it will be positioned at SES ASTRA’s important 23.5 deg. East orbital position. COMSATBw-2 is riding as the Ariane 5’s lower passenger, and will deliver key services for the German Bundeswehr (German armed forces). Based on the Spacebus 3000B2 satellite bus, the platform was designed, integrated and tested by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of EADS Astrium, the program’s space segment prime contractor.