Encapsulating Intelsat 30/DLA-1 for Its Journey into Space

By Todd Schilb, Program Manager, Space Systems Acquisition

Fifth in a series from Intelsat team members overseeing the launch of Intelsat 30, which is hosting the DLA-1 payload for DirecTV Latin America.

The campaign continues to proceed without interruptions or delays, and in this phase, the build-up of the “stack” continues with transferring the satellite to the SYLDA (the Système de Lancement Double Ariane) structure (pictured) and encapsulating it under the fairing. This will be the last time IS-30 will be seen by human eyes on Earth. After more than three years of designing and building, this satellite is now ready to do its job. It’s now up to the rocket to get us into transfer orbit where we will continue our journey to our final orbital location.

The SYLDA is a unique piece of flight hardware for the Ariane V system which allows two satellites to launch on the same rocket. In this configuration, IS-30 is mounted on top of the SYLDA and then the co-passenger is encapsulated under the SYLDA; all of this is protected by the payload fairing as the rocket propels our satellite through the atmosphere and into orbit.

When you see the launch broadcast which is scheduled for 16 October, you will see the rocket shed its stages as it blasts its way to orbit. First the solid rocket motors will separate, then the payload fairing and then the first stage of the booster. Finally, the upper stage will ignite and take our satellite to its transfer orbit and orient it in the correct attitude for spacecraft separation. After we separate, the upper stage will get ready to separate our co-passenger by re-orienting itself again and drifting away from our satellite a little while before the SYLDA is ejected to reveal the co-passenger for its separation.

Ariane will show these events through an animation on launch day since they happen out of sight, but on a clear day with the right light, it is possible to see a faint image of the fairing separating from the launch vehicle through one of the launch site cameras. This is quite remarkable since, by that time, the rocket is traveling at ~1.4 miles/second (2.3 km/s), at an altitude of 67 miles (109 km), and ~130 miles (210 km) down range. By the way, this happens only 200 seconds (~3 minutes) after lift-off.

The next major event is the roll-out to the launch pad next week.

To see more pictures of the transfer to the SYLDA and the encapsulation under the fairing, visit our Facebook page.

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