Satellite(s) that have booked a ride on an Ariane 5 arrive by plane at Rochambeau Airport in Cayenne, French Guiana. The containers holding the satellite(s) and all the necessary equipment are then transferred by road to the Satellite Preparation Facilities at the Spaceport.
The typical operations needed to prepare a satellite for launch are, chronologically:
- installation of satellite check-out consoles and ground mechanical equipment
- placing of the satellite in a clean zone
- integration of separately shipped elements
- fitting the payload adaptor
- electrical and optical validation tests
- preparation of satellite for propellant filling
- filling with liquid propellant using specific equipment
- final pressurisation and checks to ensure that no leakages can occur
- final preparation of satellite prior to transfer to the Final Assembly Building
Once all the tests have been completed the satellite is transferred to the Final Assembly Building where it is fitted on top of the launcher.