Photos: Innovative Satellites Prepare for Tandem Launch atop Ariane 5

Satellites for Ariane’s 2018 year-opening mission arrive at the Guiana Space Center via cargo aircraft to enter final pre-launch testing, fueling for flight and integration atop the Ariane 5 launch vehicle that will take them into a Supersynchronous Transfer Orbit. Aboard the VA241 mission will be the Al Yah 3 communications satellite built by Orbital ATK, riding in the lower payload berth, and SES 14 built by Airbus Defence and Space will lift off atop the Sylda adapter.

The 3,795-Kilogram Al Yah 3 is the first satellite to utilize Orbital’s new GEOStar-3 satellite platform, leveraging the latest advances in high-power communications technology and hybrid propulsion solutions to create light-weight, but high-performance satellites. SES 14, in addition to a 16-Kilowatt C- and Ku-Band payload, carries NASA’s GOLD instrument set to take unprecedented measurements of Earth’s thermosphere and ionosphere.

All Photos: Arianespace/ESA/CNES/Optique Video du CSG