An Ariane 5 rocket, operated by European Launch Service provider ArianeSpace, is undergoing final preparations ahead of its 109th scheduled flight, designated VA253.
The heavy lift rocket is scheduled to launch from pad Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 3 (ELA-3) at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 21:30 UTC (17:30 EDT) on 31 July 2020, with the launch window lasting under an hour and closing at 22:16 UTC (18:16 EDT).
VA253 will mark the 253rd flight of an Ariane rocket since L-01, the first flight of the Ariane 1, on 24 December 1979.
The Ariane 5 rocket for today’s mission was integrated with its payloads earlier in July and rolled out to the pad, ELA-3, on Thursday, 30 July.
Three separate spacecraft comprise the dual-launch payload for this mission, including Galaxy 30, Mission Extension Vehicle-2, and BSAT-4b.
Riding in the “lower passenger” position inside the SYLDA (Système de Lancement Double Ariane — “Ariane Double-Launch System”) is BSAT-4b, a broadcasting satellite built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a subsidiary of Maxar Technologies. The satellite is based on the SSL-1300 spacecraft bus.
BSAT-4b is owned and operated by Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (BSAT), which provides communication and broadcasting satellite services for Japan.