Headlines > News > Final countdown underway for Arianespace's year-ending Ariane 5 mission

Final countdown underway for Arianespace's year-ending Ariane 5 mission

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Dec 8, 2006 10:35 pm
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The final countdown is underway for Arianespace’s fifth Ariane 5 mission of 2006, which is scheduled for liftoff this evening with a dual-satellite payload for two U.S. telecommunications customers.

Launch team members initiated the countdown early this morning, followed by a mid-day startup of fueling for Ariane 5’s cryogenic core stage.

This final Ariane 5 heavy-lift mission of the year carries WildBlue Communication’s WildBlue-1 Internet access satellite and the multi-purpose AMC-18 relay satellite for SES AMERICOM. It is scheduled for liftoff at 5:08 p.m. local time from the Spaceport in French Guiana, and will take approximately 32 minutes to deploy both payloads into geostationary transfer orbit.

The first satellite to be released is the 4,735 kg. WildBlue-1, which was produced by Space Systems/Loral and is installed in the Ariane 5’s upper payload position. Colorado-based WildBlue Communications will utilize WildBlue-1 for direct two-way wireless Internet access across the contiguous United States. This pioneering all-Ka-band spacecraft will deliver Internet connectivity services targeted specifically for homes and small offices in areas where terrestrial broadband access alternatives are either limited or unavailable.

SES AMERICOM’s AMC-18 will be separated approximately five minutes after the deployment of WildBlue-1. AMC-18 is to join the New Jersey-based SES AMERICOM’s fleet of satellites for the distribution of cable, television and radio broadcasts, telecommunications services, business television and broadband data throughout the Americas and transoceanic regions. The AMC-18 spacecraft carries 24 C-band transponders and was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Satellite Systems.

Kourou, French Guiana: Between 07:08 p.m. and 07:51 p.m. on December 8
GMT: Between 10:08 p.m. and 10:51 p.m. on December 8
Paris, France: Between 11:08 p.m. and 11:51 p.m. on December 8
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.: Between 05:08 p.m. and 05:51 p.m. on December 8

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