Arianespace plans to send a satellite service vehicle – along with two satellites – in space today (July 31) and you can watch the launch online.
The launch will take place between 18:30 and 19:16 local time in Krourou, French Guiana (17:30 and 18:16 EDT, or 2130 and 2216 GMT). You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of Arianespace. You can also tune directly to the Arianespace webcast on YouTube. The broadcast will start about 20 minutes before the expiration.
This launch will be the fifth for Arianespace in 2020, the mission was delayed from the previous launch date on Tuesday (28 July) due to “additional technical checks required within the fairing and the Ariane double launch system”
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The satellite service spacecraft, called the Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2) on the Ariane 5 rocket, is the second created by Northrop Grumman SpaceLogistics LLC, a subsidiary of satellite communications provider Intelsat. The first MEV, MEV-1, carried out the first, historic docking in February with the Intelsat satellite and the low-fuel IS-901. The long-term goal of the MEV series is to charge and service aging satellites in orbit to expand their missions, which may be a cheaper option than sending a replacement satellite.
With the MEV-1 mission considered a success in April – the Intelsat-901 satellite returned to normal operation this month, Intelsat said in a statement – MEV-2 is ready to launch with another Intelsat satellite called Intelsat 1002.
“Once moored, it [MEV-2] will control the orbit of the client satellite using its own chokes, “Arianespace said in a statement, adding that after servicing the Intelsat satellite, the vehicle will be available for other missions.
With the MEV-2, it will be an Intelsat satellite called the Galaxy 30, the first replacement satellite in a major effort to replace Intelsat’s aging communications satellites in North America. The new satellites will offer ultra-high-resolution media, allowing customers to bypass direct-satellite companies and a range of broadband, mobile and network services, the same statement from Arianespace said.
The completion of the payload will be the Maxar BSAT-4b satellite, launched on behalf of the Japanese satellite broadcasting system. The satellite will be used for a television service directly to the home in Japan and will serve as a backup for a similar BSAT-4a, which launches in September 2017.
Today’s launch will be Ariane’s 253rd mission in total. Arianespace is developing a receiver rocket, Ariana 6, this will eventually replace the launch services provided by the heavy-duty Ariane 5.
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