Mission Update

Mission Update

Ariane 5 is cleared for its first mission of 2009

February 10, 2009

The payload “stack” configuration for Ariane 5’s upcoming mission is shown in this cutaway drawing, with HOT BIRD 10 in the upper position and NSS-9 located below it. The two Spirale satellites are integrated on a supplemental platform at the base of the stack, just under NSS-9.

Arianespace’s initial Ariane 5 flight of 2009 has been given the go-ahead for its February 12 liftoff following completion of the mission’s launch readiness review, which was held today at the Spaceport in French Guiana.

This review is among the final key milestones of every Ariane 5 launch campaign, and it validated the heavy-lift vehicle’s readiness, along with the “go” status for its multi-satellite payload, the infrastructure at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and the network of downrange tracking stations.

The February 12 mission will mark the start of another busy year for Arianespace’s workhorse Ariane 5, which is expected to perform six to eight flights during 2009.

Primary payloads for the upcoming launch are the HOT BIRD™ 10 and NSS-9 telecommunications satellites, which will be accompanied by two Spirale piggyback passengers. 

The lift performance for this mission is 8,511 kg., which includes a mass of 7,420 kg. for the satellites, along with their associated integration hardware and the launcher’s SYLDA multi-payload dispenser system.  It will be Ariane 5’s 43rd flight, and the 187th liftoff of a vehicle in the Ariane family of commercial launchers.

Riding in the upper position of Ariane 5’s payload “stack” is HOT BIRD 10, which will be operated by Eutelsat for cable and satellite broadcasting duties from its “video neighborhood” orbital slot of 13 deg. East.  This high-power satellite is equipped with 64 Ku-band transponders and was manufactured by prime contractor EADS Astrium using the Eurostar E3000 spacecraft bus. 

HOT BIRD 10 has a launch mass of approximately 4,890 kg., and is identical to Eutelsat's HOT BIRD™ 9 – which was orbited by the year-ending 2008 mission of Ariane 5 on December 20. 

Integrated in the lower position of Ariane 5’s payload stack is SES NEW SKIES’ NSS-9 satellite, produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation using its Star-2 platform.  NSS-9 will have a liftoff mass of about 2,240 kg. and is fitted with 44 active high-power C-band transponders.  

To be located at an orbital slot of 183 degrees East, NSS-9 will provide relay coverage for a variety of customers, including TV broadcasters, government users, operators and transport firms in the Pacific islands, as well as the maritime industry. 

NSS-9 features three beams that can interconnect on a transponder-by-transponder basis: a global beam providing full coverage of the Earth visible from its operational orbital position; a West hemi-beam for coverage over Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, China, Korea and the Pacific Islands; and an East hemi-beam with coverage and connectivity to the U.S., Hawaii and Polynesia.

Also to be orbited by Ariane 5 are two micro-satellites that are the space segment for France’s SPIRALE demonstrator, which will provide certain key elements in paving the way for a future defense early warning system.  Thales Alenia Space developed these 120-kg.-class satellites, while Spirale program prime contractor EADS Astrium has responsibility for their integration, in-orbit operations and data collection for the French DGA armament procurement agency.

The Spirale spacecraft are based on the Myriade spacecraft platform developed by the French CNES national space agency.


Launch Window


Paris, France

Kourou, French Guiana

Washington, D.C., USA

Moscow, Russia

Between 10:09 p.m.
and 11:04 p.m. on February 12, 2009

Between 11:09 p.m.
and 00:04 a.m. on February 12-13, 2009

Between 07:09 p.m.
and 08:04 p.m. on February 12, 2009

Between 05:09 p.m.
and 06:04 p.m. on February 12, 2009

Between 01:09 a.m.
and 02:04 a.m. on February 13, 2009

About Arianespace | Launch services | Latest news | Press center | Careers | Contact us | Site map
RSS | Français | Terms and conditions of use | Online privacy statement | Twitter | |

© 2015 Arianespace