ASTRA 3B is 'topped off' for Arianespace's year-opening flight
Satellite preparations for Ariane 5's initial launch of 2010 have moved into a new phase with the fueling of ASTRA 3B - which is one of two passengers to be orbited by the heavy-lift vehicle on March 24.
Propellant loading of ASTRA 3B was performed in the Spaceport's S5 satellite preparation facility, readying this EADS Astrium-built spacecraft for integration with its Ariane 5 ECA launcher.
ASTRA 3B is a Ku- and Ka-band spacecraft designed for the distribution of both direct-to-home broadcast services and two-way broadband services across Europe and the Middle East. It will be positioned at the increasingly important 23.5 deg. East orbital position for SES ASTRA.
ASTRA 3B will be joined on the upcoming mission by COMSATBw-2, a secure relay platform that will deliver key services for the German Bundeswehr (German armed forces).