Arabsat-5C and SES-2 set for September 9 launch
07.51 Europe/London, August 23, 2011 By Robert Briel

The Arabsat-5C communications satellite has been fueled as preparations continue for the spacecraft’s September 9 launch on Arianespace’s next dual-passenger Ariane 5 flight from French Guiana.

This multi-mission satellite received its onboard propellant load in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation building, readying Arabsat-5C for the upcoming integration in Ariane 5′s payload “stack” along with co-passenger SES-2 for SES World Skies.

Arabsat-5C was built by EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space in a joint programme for the satellite’s assembly and in-orbit delivery. As the lead partner, Astrium supplied the Eurostar E3000 platform, with responsibility for assembling and testing the spacecraft. Thales Alenia Space designed and built the communications payload, which integrates C-band and Ka-band transponders.

The spacecraft will have an estimated launch mass of 4,630 kg, and is to operate from an orbital position of 20 degrees East to provide a wide range of communications relay services for the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat).

Built by the U.S.-based Orbital Sciences Corporation for SES World Skies, the SES-2 spacecraft arrived in French Guiana aboard a chartered An-124 cargo jetliner, and was transported from Cayenne’s Rochambeau International Airport to the Spaceport’s payload preparation facilities.

SES-2 is based on Orbital’s Enhanced STAR™ 2.4 satellite bus and is a hybrid C- and Ku-band spacecraft that will serve North America.

In addition to the 24 active C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders of 36 MHz capacity each for its relay duties, SES-2 also carries the Commercially Hosted InfraRed Payload (CHIRP) for the U.S. Air Force, which integrates a wide-field of view sensor in the satellite.