THOR 7’s encapsulation begins the payload build-up for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission
The build-up of Ariane 5’s dual-passenger configuration is underway at French Guiana, where this mission’s upper satellite is now encapsulated in the launcher’s payload fairing.
During activity in the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5, the ogive-shaped fairing was lowered in place over THOR 7 – with the satellite previously having been installed on a dispenser system called SYLDA.
With this step now accomplished, the completed unit is ready to be positioned atop the mission’s other payload – Sicral 2 – following the lower passenger’s installation on Ariane 5’s central core.
These payload integration activities will complete the launcher build-up for Arianespace’s scheduled April 15 liftoff.
Designated Flight VA222, the heavy-lift mission’s deployment sequence will begin with Ariane 5’s payload fairing jettison, occurring after the launcher climbs through the Earth atmosphere’s dense layers. Upon reaching the altitude for geostationary transfer orbit injection, THOR 7 will be deployed first, followed by the SYLDA dispenser’s separation, and then Sicral 2’s release to complete the mission.
THOR 7 was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operation by Telenor Satellite Broadcasting – a major European satellite provider of broadcast and data communication services for customers in the broadcast, maritime, and oil and gas markets. After reaching its orbital slot at 1 deg. West longitude, this spacecraft will serve the maritime sector – offering high-powered coverage over the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the Red Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. A Ku-band payload for broadcast and television services in Central and Eastern Europe also is incorporated in the relay platform.
The Sicral 2 co-passenger on Arianespace’s Fight VA222 is a military telecommunications satellite designed to provide strategic and tactical telecommunications links for French and Italian military forces, as well as reserve capacity for other NATO nations. Sicral 2 was developed in the framework of a turnkey contract that the Italian Defense Ministry and the French DGA armament agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement) have with Thales Alenia Space Italy. Telespazio is responsible for the launch service.
Flight VA222 will be the third flight for Arianespace’s launcher family in 2015. It follows a medium-lift Soyuz launch on March 27 that orbited two European Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capability) navigation satellites, and February 11’s lightweight Vega suborbital mission with Europe’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) spaceplane.