The go-ahead has now been given for Arianespace’s fourth launch of
2002, clearing the way for a liftoff of Flight 149 on Thursday, March

Clearance for the final countdown came today after the launch
readiness review was held at the Spaceport. This review, which is
convened before every Ariane mission, validates the readiness of the
launch vehicle, its payload, the launch site and downrange tracking

Flight 149 is set for a liftoff at the start of a 45-minute launch
window that opens at 10:29 p.m. local Kourou time on Thursday.

The mission’s Ariane 4 vehicle carries two satellites built by Boeing
Satellite Systems of the U.S.: JCSAT-8 for Japan’s JSAT Corporation,
and ASTRA 3A for Luxembourg-based operator SES ASTRA.

JCSAT-8 will ride in the upper position in Ariane’s dual-payload
stack, and is to be released first – separating from the launcher at
21 minutes into the mission. ASTRA 3A’s deployment from Ariane 4 is to
occur 5 minutes later.