The countdown has started for the planned January 25th launch by Arianespace of two satellites: SES-14 and Al Yah 3 (YahSat-3).
SES-14 has been positioned atop Al Yah 3 within the payload fairing – which was installed on the launcher’s cryogenic core stage during previous activity inside the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5.
These successive integration steps enable a new series of preparation milestones to begin. They include the launch readiness review which took place on Jan 23rd, which is scheduled to followed by Ariane 5’s rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone today (January 24th).
Lift-off is scheduled during a 45-min. launch window opening January 25th at 7:20 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the two spacecraft to be deployed on a flight lasting approximately 35 minutes.
Ariane 5 will deliver a total payload lift performance of more than 9,100 kg. during the mission – with this combined mass factoring in SES-14 and Al Yah 3, plus the launch vehicle’s dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.
SES-14 is being orbited to the 47.5 degrees West position, but will takes some months to reach that position. An all-electric satellite, it will serve Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and the North Atlantic region with C- and Ku-band wide beam coverage and Ku-band high throughput spot beam coverage. SES received a license to operate at this Brazilian orbital location as a result of a spectrum auction in 2014.
The SES craft also carries a special payload from NASA: The payload’s Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission is designed to deepen scientists’ understanding of the nearest reaches of space. The hosted payload will provide unprecedented imaging of the Earth’s upper atmosphere from geostationary orbit, and will be the first mission with a cadence fast enough to study the daily weather of the thermosphere-ionosphere rather than its long-term climate.
Abu Dhabi’s Al Yah- 3 craft is a much-delayed hybrid satellite equipped with both chemical and electric propulsion. Its chemical propulsion will speedily get it to its planned orbital spot serving Africa and Brazil. One beneficiary of the satellite is Eutelsat and a contract for its Konnect Africa project from some of the 53 Ka-band spot beams on board.