Vietnam's VINASAT-1 satellite is readied for Arianespace's heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission in April
The second of two commercial telecommunications satellite passengers for Arianespace's next heavy-lift Ariane 5 flight is undergoing pre-launch checkout in preparation for a mid-April liftoff from Europe's Spaceport.
VINASAT-1 arrived in French Guiana and is now in the Spaceport's S5 payload preparation facility. This spacecraft is part of a turnkey telecommunications satellite system being provided by Lockheed Martin – the first ever procured by the nation of Vietnam.
The VINASAT-1 telecommunications platform is based on Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems' A2100A spacecraft bus, and will have a mass at liftoff of about 2,600 kg. Equipped with 20 C- and Ku-band transponders, VINASAT-1 will provide radio, television and telephone transmission services for all of Vietnam and the Asia Pacific region from its geostationary orbit position of 132 degrees East.
VINASAT-1 will be lofted along with the Star One C2 satellite for Brazilian telecommunications operator Star One. Star One C2 was delivered to the Spaceport on February 25, and is continuing its checkout process at the launch site's clean room facilities.
Thales Alenia Space produced Star One C2 using the company's Spacebus 3000B3 platform, and the spacecraft carries 28 transponders in C-band, 16 in Ku-band and 1 in X-band. With a mass at liftoff of 4,100 kg., Star One C2 will be positioned at an orbital slot of 70° West following its deployment by Ariane 5.
The upcoming mission with VINASAT-1 and Star One C2 will be Arianespace's second flight of 2008, and will use a heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA launcher version. This follows the highly successful March 9 launch of an Ariane 5 ES version, which orbited Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle for a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
For 2008, Arianespace is planning seven Ariane 5 missions – the busiest year of mission activity with this workhorse launcher since its commercial introduction in 1999.
VINASAT-1 begins its initial processing in the S5C high bay area of the Spaceport's S5 payload preparation facility.
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