Eumetsat’s latest meteorological satellite arrives at the Spaceport for launch by Arianespace on Ariane 5
The protective shipping container with MSG-4 is removed from the An-124 cargo jetliner after its arrival at Félix Eboué Airport near Cayenne.
Ariane Flight VA224
Arianespace’s ability to accommodate multiple missions and a full range of payloads at the Spaceport was underscored once again by the arrival of Europe’s Eumetsat MSG-4 meteorological satellite, which is to be lofted later this year by a heavy-lift Ariane 5.
MSG-4 arrived yesterday evening aboard a chartered An-124 cargo jetliner that landed at Félix Eboué Airport near the French Guiana capital city of Cayenne. After a nighttime unloading process, the satellite was transferred by road for arrival at the Spaceport early this morning, where it will be prepared for pre-launch processing.
The spin-stabilized MSG-4 will be orbited as one of two passengers on Arianespace Flight VA224. This continues the company’s role as the launch services provider for Meteosat platforms – which deliver vital data to ensure the safety of lives, property and infrastructure through their contribution to the “nowcasting” of high-impact weather.
As with other Meteosat spacecraft, MSG-4 carries the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI), which observes the Earth in 12 spectral channels; along with the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument, a visible-infrared radiometer for Earth radiation budget studies. From geostationary orbit positions at 36,000 km. above the equator, Meteosat satellites continually return detailed imagery of Europe, the North Atlantic and Africa every 15 minutes for operational use by meteorologists.
MSG-4 is the last of Europe’s Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites, built by a Thales Alenia Space-led European consortium, and developed through a cooperation with the European Space Agency. After launch, it will be stored in orbit, ultimately being named Meteosat-11 when becoming operational to bridge the gap between Meteosat-10 (launched by Arianespace in 2012 aboard an Ariane 5) and the initial Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) spacecraft, which are scheduled to be orbited in 2019 and 2021.
The start of MSG-4’s checkout in French Guiana joins activity at the Spaceport this month for other Arianespace missions, including preparations for a heavy-lift Ariane 5 launch in May (designated Flight VA223) to orbit DIRECTV’s DirecTV-15 and SKY Mexico-1 satellites for digital television entertainment services; and the June launch of a lightweight Vega vehicle (referred to as Flight VV05) with Europe’s Sentinel-2A Earth observation platform.
Also this month, Arianespace performed an Ariane 5 mission on April 26 that carried the THOR 7 civil telecommunications and SICRAL 2 military relay satellites.
A “spinner” is prepared for Arianespace's summer launch with Ariane 5
Ariane Flight VA224
A new-generation satellite that will contribute to the sustained accurate “nowcasting” of weather is continuing its checkout at the Spaceport in French Guiana for launch on an Arianespace heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission this summer.
Eumetsat’s MSG-4 meteorological satellite – the fourth and final spacecraft in Europe’s series of Meteosat Second Generation spacecraft – has been in the Spaceport’s S1B clean room facility for processing.
MSG-4 will join four other Meteosat-series platforms that currently are operational in geostationary orbit at 36,000 km. above the equator. These are the three previous Meteosat Second Generation satellites, all launched by Arianespace on Ariane 5s (Meteosat-10 in July 2012, Meteosat-9 in December 2005, and Meteosat-8 in August 2002); along with the remaining operational first-generation platform, Meteosat-7, which was lofted by an Arianespace Ariane 4 in September 1997.
After launch, MSG-4 will be stored in orbit, ultimately being named Meteosat-11 when it becomes operational to bridge the gap between Meteosat-10 and the initial Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) spacecraft – which are scheduled to be orbited in 2019 and 2021.
In contrast to the boxy-type telecommunications satellites typically launched by Arianespace, the Meteosats are cylindrically-shaped drums. This allows their spin-stabilization in counter-clockwise rotation around the longitudinal axis, and enables on-board instruments to scan the Earth coverage area.
Built by a Thales Alenia Space-led European consortium, and developed through a cooperation of the European Space Agency with Eumetsat, the Meteosat Second Generation spacecraft are 3.2 meters in diameter and 2.4 meters tall, with an in-orbit mass of 1,200 kg.
Initial Ariane 5 assembly is completed for Arianespace’s July mission with the MSG-4 and Star One C4 satellites
Ariane Flight VA224
Another Ariane 5 has completed its initial build-up at the Spaceport in French Guiana, marking a major milestone in preparations for Arianespace’s third heavy-lift mission of 2015 – which will orbit the European MSG-4 meteorological satellite and Brazilian Star One C4 telecommunications relay platform during July.
As part of regular pre-flight preparations inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, the vehicle’s core cryogenic stage was first removed from its protective shipping container and hoisted into position over one of two operational mobile launch tables available for Ariane 5.
During separate rollout processes, the vehicle’s two solid propellant boosters subsequently were then moved via rail on pallets from their dedicated on-site assembly facility to the Launcher Integration Building, and then mated with the core stage.
To complete the current phase of assembly activity, Ariane 5’s ESC-A cryogenic upper stage and vehicle equipment bay were installed yesterday as a single unit atop the Ariane 5’s cryogenic core stage.
Ariane 5 is shown after completion of its initial build-up, with the combined cryogenic upper stage and vehicle equipment bay component integrated atop its core cryogenic stage.
Continuing the 2015 flight cadence
This Ariane 5 vehicle will be used on the 224th Ariane-series mission to date, correspondingly designated Flight VA224. It also will continue Arianespace’s busy launch schedule in 2015, during which the company is targeting 11 missions in total – based on the availability of payloads – using its full family of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega launchers.
Flight VA224 is one of three missions currently undergoing preparations in parallel at the Spaceport, joining Flight VA223 – which will orbit the DirecTV-15 and SKY México-1 satellites on May 27 using an Ariane 5; and Vega Flight VV05 with the Sentinel-2A Earth observation satellite for Europe’s ambitious Copernicus initiative – which is scheduled to lift off this summer.
With the Flight VA224 Ariane 5’s initial build-up concluded, the launcher is now being readied for its transfer to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building – where it will be fitted with the MSG-4 and Star One C4 satellite passengers.
Eumetsat’s MSG-4 meteorological satellite will join four other Meteosat-series platforms that currently are operational in geostationary orbit at 36,000 km. above the equator. After launch, it is to be stored in orbit, ultimately being named Meteosat-11. When operational, it will bridge the gap between Meteosat-10 (launched in 2012 by Arianespace) and the initial Meteosat Third Generation spacecraft – which are scheduled to be orbited in 2019 and 2021. MSG-4 was built by a Thales Alenia Space-led European consortium.
The Star One C4 co-passenger – produced by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) – is a part of the third generation of Embratel Star One satellites, which ensure the continuity of telephone, television, radio, data transmission and Internet services in Brazil, in addition to expanding these services to Latin American countries and mainland United States.
A milestone SSL satellite arrives for Arianespace’s Ariane 5 launch in July
The Star One C4 satellite is unloaded from an Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft at Cayenne’s Félix Eboué International Airport after arriving in French Guiana.
Ariane Flight VA224
A payload’s arrival in French Guiana for an upcoming Spaceport launch always is a notable event, and the recent delivery of the Star One C4 satellite for Ariane 5’s flight this July has great significance – as it will mark SSL’s (Space Systems Loral) 50th mission with Arianespace.
Star One C4 was designed and built by SSL for Embratel Star One, based on the SSL 1300 platform that provides high power and the flexibility to support a broad range of applications and technological advances.
After its launch by Ariane 5 on Arianespace Flight VA224, the spacecraft will be positioned at 70 deg. West longitude for a service lifetime of 15 years or more. This is to place Star One C4 in a “hot spot” location for the relay of signals from major TV stations in Brazil, with 22-25 million parabolic antennas pointed in its direction.
Star One C4 features 48 Ku-band transponders and is to reinforce Embratel Star One’s direct-to-home services in Brazil, while expanding access to other Latin American countries and to the mainland United States.
July’s Ariane 5 mission will mark another dual-payload flight for Arianespace’s heavy-lift workhorse, with Star One C4 being joined by the European MSG-4 meteorological satellite.
Confirmed “fits”: MSG-4 and Star One C4 make initial contact with Ariane 5 launcher hardware
Star One C4 and MSG-4 are shown as they make their first contact with launcher hardware – the conical-shaped structures that serve as the payload adapters. This activity is shown in the Spaceport’s S5 facility, with Star One C4 (at left) and MSG-4 (photos at right).
Ariane Flight VA224
The two satellite passengers for Arianespace’s third Ariane 5 mission in 2015 are advancing through their pre-flight preparations, with MSG-4 and Star One C4 each completing separate fit-check processes during activity at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
Performed at the Spaceport’s S5 facility, the fit-check is a regular preparation step for Ariane 5 missions – during which a payload makes its initial contact with launcher hardware. With this work completed for MSG-4 and Star One C4, both are ready for their fueling and subsequent integration on the launch vehicle.
The satellites will be orbited on an Ariane 5 mission planned for July, which is designated Flight VA224 as the 224th Ariane-series launch to date. It will continue Arianespace’s busy schedule in 2015, during which the company is targeting 11 missions in total – based on the availability of payloads – using its full family of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega vehicles.
MSG-4 – which was built for Eumetsat by a Thales Alenia Space-led European consortium – will join four other Meteosat-series meteorological platforms that currently are operational in geostationary orbit at 36,000 km. above the equator.
After launch, MSG-4 is to be stored in orbit, ultimately being named Meteosat-11. When operational, it will bridge the gap between Meteosat-10 – launched in 2012 by Arianespace – and the initial Meteosat Third Generation spacecraft, which are scheduled to be orbited in 2019 and 2021.
The Star One C4 co-passenger was produced by SSL (Space Systems/Loral), and is a part of the third generation of Embratel Star One satellites – which ensure the continuity of telephone, television, radio, data transmission and Internet services in Brazil, in addition to expanding these services to Latin American countries and mainland United States.
Star One C4 ultimately will be co-located with the Star One C2 spacecraft at an orbital slot of 70 deg. West – which is considered a "hot" position for transmitting the signals of major television stations in Brazil.
The launch rhythm continues: Arianespace takes delivery of its next Ariane 5 at the Spaceport
Ariane Flight VA224
Riding atop one of two operational launch tables at the Spaceport, the Ariane 5 for Flight VA224 nears completion of its transfer to the Final Assembly Building.
Arianespace is keeping up the mission cadence at its French Guiana base of operations with the acceptance of another heavy-lift Ariane 5, which now is being readied for the integration of a dual-satellite payload to be orbited in July.
The Ariane 5 was moved yesterday from the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building – where it underwent basic build-up – to the Final Assembly Building, formally transferring authority for the vehicle to Arianespace from industrial prime contractor Airbus Defense and Space.
With this Ariane 5 at the Final Assembly Building, it is now in position to receive the mission’s two satellite passengers – Eumetsat’s MSG-4 and Star One C4 for Embratel Star One – which will be followed by final verifications and the subsequent rollout to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex.
Designated Flight VA224 in Arianespace’s numbering system, this upcoming mission represents the 224th launch of an Ariane family vehicle. It also will mark the company’s sixth liftoff performed from the Spaceport in 2015 – coming after two each using Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega (the second of which, Flight VV05, is scheduled for June 22), plus one with a medium-lift Soyuz.
VA224 launch postponed
Evry, July 3, 2015
Due to additional checks as part of the preparation of mission VA224, the launch initially scheduled for July 8, 2015 will be postponed for a few days.
A new launch date for the Star One C4 and MSG-4 satellites will be communicated by Arianespace as soon as possible.
Flight VA224 is rescheduled for July 15, 2015: Ariane 5 ECA - Star One C4 & MSG-4
Evry, July 6, 2015
Complementary checks carried out the past few days have given satisfactory results.
Therefore, Arianespace decided to resume preparation operations for VA224 flight for a launch scheduled on July 15, 2015 in a launch window between:
06:42 p.m. and 7:19 p.m. (local time in French Guiana),
05:42 p.m. and 6:19 p.m. (Washington DC time),
09:42 p.m. and 10:19 p.m. (UTC),
11:42 p.m. and 00:19 p.m. (Paris time).
ARIANESPACE FLIGHT VA224 - Star One C4 & MSG-4
THE LAUNCH READINESS REVIEW (RAL) took place in Kourou on Friday, July 10, 2015 and authorized count-down operations for the Star One C4 & MSG-4 launch.
On the sixth launch of the year from the Guiana Space center in French Guiana, and the third with an Ariane 5, Arianespace will orbit 2 satellites: Star One C4 for the Brazilian operator Embratel Star One, and MSG-4 for EUMETSAT.
It will be launched from the Ariane 5 launch complex N° 3 (ELA3), in Kourou, French Guiana.
THE ARIANE 5 ECA LAUNCHER LIFT-OFF for this flight is scheduled on July 15, 2015 as soon as possible within the following launch window:
KOUROU: Between 06:42 pm and 07:19 pm on July 15, 2015
UT: Between 09:42 pm and 10:19 pm on July 15, 2015
Paris: Between 11:42 pm and 00:19 am during the night of July 15 to 16, 2015
Washington : Between 05:42 pm and 06:19 pm on July 15, 2015
Keeping up the pace: Ariane 5 orbits Star One C4 and MSG-4 on Arianespace’s sixth flight in 2015
With an on-time departure from the Spaceport, Ariane 5 climbs away from French Guiana carrying the Star One C4 and MSG-4 satellites.
July 15, 2015 – Ariane Flight VA224
Arianespace’s marked the halfway point in its fast-paced 2015 operational schedule today with the 66th consecutive successful Ariane 5 launch, which deployed two satellites into geostationary transfer orbits for very diverse roles.
Ariane 5 Flight VA224 lifted off at the beginning of its launch window at 6:42 p.m. local time from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex in French Guiana, carrying a mixed-mission satellite payload composed of the Star One C4 telecommunications relay platform for Embratel Star One and Eumetsat’s MSG-4 for meteorological monitoring.
“We have performed six launches already, in line with our busy manifest targeting up to 12 launches for 2015,” said Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël in his post-launch comments. “Arianespace is demonstrating – launch after launch – its capability to increase its operational pace while remaining the most reliable solution for all its customers.”
This evening’s success at the service of two-long standing customers – Brazilian operator Embratel Star One and Europe’s Eumetsat – also reaffirms Arianespace’s dual goals: to be a leader in commercial space transportation and guarantee Europe’s independent access to space.
The 80th Ariane 5 flight is another on-target success
This 40-minute flight marked another mission accomplished for Arianespace’s reliable Ariane 5, which carried a total payload of nearly 8,590 kg. on its 80th launch from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
Ariane 5 lifts off from the Spaceport in French Guiana to begin its successful Flight VA224 with Star One C4 and MSG-4, which were the 511th and 512th spacecraft launched by Arianespace.
Ariane 5 also continued its industry-recognized accuracy, with the following estimated orbital parameters at injection of the launch vehicle’s cryogenic upper stage:
- Perigee: 249.5 km. for a target of 249.1 km.
- Apogee: 35,929 km. for a target of 35,904 km.
- Inclination: 3.99 deg. for a target of 4.00 deg.
In his post-mission comments, Israël cited the contributions of Ariane 5’s prime contractor – Airbus Safran Launchers – and the industrial network for sustained deliveries of the heavy-lift launcher, “without deviating from the highest quality standards which have made its fame worldwide.”
He also recognized the key support of European Space Agency (ESA) member states, the French CNES space agency’s personnel at the Spaceport in French Guiana, along with the industrial companies that support the launch site’s ground infrastructure and Arianespace’s teams in establishing Ariane 5’s unrivalled track record of success.
Extended telecommunications services for Embratel Star One
Riding in the upper position, Embratel Star One’s Star One C4 was deployed first in the flight sequence at just over 28 minutes after liftoff. This telecommunications satellite – which was designed and built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) – will reinforce direct-to-home services in Brazil, while expanding access to other Latin American countries, and the mainland United States for Embratel Star One, which is the largest satellite operator in South America.
The deployment of Star One C4 continues Embratel Star One’s 30-year collaboration with Arianespace, during which the launch service provider has lofted 10 satellites for this Brazilian operator.
Another step in Arianespace’s partnership with Eumetsat
Europe’s Eumetsat weather, climate and environmental monitoring organization is another long-time partner of Arianespace, reinforced with MSG-4’s successful separation some 40 minutes after Flight VA224’s liftoff – marking the latest step in a relationship that extends back to Arianespace’s beginnings.
Produced by Thales Alenia Space, MSG-4 is the 10th Meteosat satellite launched by Arianespace, as well as the fourth and final satellite in the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) series of spacecraft, which play an important role in supporting the detection and forecasting of high-impact weather.
MSG-4 is being stored in orbit following its launch and commissioning. Once operational, it will be renamed Meteosat-11, and bridge the gap between Meteosat-10 (launched by Ariane 5 in 2012) and the first Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites, which are planned for launch in 2019 and 2021.
Six launches… and counting
Flight VA224 was Arianespace’s third heavy-lift mission so far this year, following Flight VA223 on May 27 and Flight VA222 on April 26. Arianespace also has performed two light-lift Vega missions (Flight VV04 on February 11, and June 22’s Flight VV05), along with one that utilized its medium-weight Soyuz vehicle: Flight VS11 on March 27.
Next up in the company’s launch manifest is another Ariane 5 mission – Flight VA225, which is planned for August 20 to deploy the EUTELSAT 8 West B and Intelsat 34 broadcasting/telecommunications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit.
“I want to thank all Arianespace’s teams for their full dedication to our launches and to our customers,” Israël said. “Arianespace’s teams have demonstrated launch after launch, year after year, that they make the difference.”