Astra 2F Launch

Astra 2F Launch

The fifth Ariane 5 mission of 2012 delivered a pair of telecommunications spacecraft to geostationary transfer orbit on September 28, 2012, marking the 65th launch to date for Arianespace’s heavy-lift workhorse.
Lifting off in late afternoon sunlight at 6:18 p.m. from the Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, Ariane 5 deployed its ASTRA 2F and GSAT-10 satellite passengers during a flight lasting approximately 30 minutes.
This timing prior to sunset provided a clear view of Ariane 5’s trajectory as it cleared a low cloud deck and continued the ascent, enabling tracking cameras to view the solid propellant booster’s separation at an altitude of 67.5 km., as well as the payload fairing’s jettison at nearly 110 km. above French Guiana.

The launcher’s total payload lift performance was more than 10,200 kg. – which included a combined mass of some 9,400 kg. for the two spacecraft, along with Ariane 5’s multi-payload dispenser system and associated integration hardware.
Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said that tonight’s mission marked the 51st consecutive success for Ariane 5, demonstrating Arianespace’s unrelenting efforts to insure reliability for its customers that is unequalled in the launch services industry.

Astra 2F under construction

The construction of Astra 2F

All Astrium communications satellites are assembled, integrated and tested in cleanrooms at the company’s Toulouse site, the component parts having arrived from sites in the UK, France, Germany and Spain. The AIT process lasts between six and nine months, depending on the complexity of the satellite.
Satellites cannot be tested in flight, so tests have to take place which simulate the extreme conditions of the launch and orbital environment as realistically as possible.

A communications spacecraft consists of:

A service module, the generic standard element for all missions, supporting the basic functions of a space vehicle
The payload, which includes a mission-specific communications module carrying the RF equipment, as well as a set of receive and transmit antennas.

The payload on a communications satellite is designed to receive and transmit signals to and from various places on Earth.
There are two main elements in a communications satellite payload:
Communications antennas, which receive and transmit signals down to Earth
The repeater subsystem, including the transponders and other equipment needed to change frequencies, filter, separate, amplify and group signals, and route them to the right address on Earth.


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