Alphasat stacks up
On Wednesday, Alphasat was mated with its launcher adaptor in preparation for installation on the Ariane 5 rocket.
Several weeks ago, Ariane was checked for compatibility with an Arianespace adaptor in a dry run for this week’s mating. The adaptor was developed by RUAG Aerospace Sweden with a mixed carbon fibre and aluminium structure and equipped with a low-shock clampband separation system.
Adaptors securely attach a satellite to its launcher, and this one was especially designed and qualified for Alphabus, the high-power platform developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space.
The clampband is a ring on top that keeps the satellite in place until the separation system releases the band and frees its payload.
Alphasat was lifted onto the adaptor and the clampband tension adjusted. The adaptors’ umbilical lines were then connected to the satellite, completing the procedure.
After mating, the stack was bolted to a platform on air bearings and inserted into the large air-conditioned container that will be used to reach the Batiment d’assemblage final. There, it will be placed on top of Ariane’s Sylda dual launch pod, which is used to support the upper payload during a double launch. The lower payload is India’s Insat-3D co-passenger.
Following addition of the fairing, the entire ‘upper composite’ will be installed on top of the waiting Ariane 5, where Insat-3D will have already been placed.