Mission Update

Mission Update

Ariane 5 begins 2009 with another successful launch at Arianespace's service

February 12, 2009

Arianespace initiated another busy year of launch activity with tonight’s successful Ariane 5 launch, which orbited payloads for two of the world’s leading satellite communications operators – Eutelsat and SES.

The heavy-lift Ariane 5 is shown prior to its liftoff from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone.

After an on-time liftoff from the ELA-3 launch complex at Europe’s Spaceport, the heavy-lift Ariane 5 ECA deployed HOT BIRD™ 10 for Eutelsat, followed by NSS-9 for SES NEW SKIES. Two small Spirale auxiliary payloads for the French DGA defense procurement agency were then injected into orbit to complete the 34-minute mission.

“Our Ariane 5 unites power and dependability – as demonstrated by this 29th consecutive success,” said Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall.  “This success also illustrates the privileged relationships Arianespace has built with its clients during numerous years.”

The evening flight’s live video broadcast showed Ariane 5’s smooth ascent from French Guiana after engine ignition at 7:09 p.m., and it tracked the launcher downrange – including separation of the two solid propellant boosters at approximately 2 min. into the flight.

Ariane 5’s track record for on-target missions continued with this latest launch, with its accuracy underscored by the provisional orbital parameters at injection of the vehicle’s cryogenic upper stage:

- Perigee: 248.2 km. for a target of 248.5 km.
- Apogee: 35,955 km. for a target of 35,960 km.
- Inclination: 1.99 degrees for a target of 1.99 degrees

"The technology is assured with Arianespace"

Giuliano Berretta, CEO of Eutelsat Communications, congratulated the Arianespace team for tonight’s mission, adding: “While a launch is still an emotional experience, the technology is assured with Arianespace.” 

Scott J. Sprague, SES NEW SKIES’ Senior Vice President, Global Sales, expressed his appreciation to Arianespace for the effort that went into the mission success, and said he had “goosebumps from head to toe” in viewing Ariane 5’s liftoff from the Jupiter launch control center.

HOT BIRD 10 is the latest satellite orbited in Arianespace’s long-standing cooperation with Eutelsat, which began in 1983 with the launch of ECS-1 on an Ariane 1 vehicle.  The HOT BIRD 10 payload was Eutelsat’s 24th spacecraft to benefit from Arianespace’s launch Service & Solutions offer, which follows the lofting of HOT BIRD™ 9 and W2M together during Arianespace’s 2008 year-ending Ariane 5 mission on December 20.

The SES Group also is a key customer for Arianespace, with launch orders signed for 36 payloads and a relationship that spans more than 24 years since the launch of SPACENET 1 in 1984 on an Ariane 1. 


This evening's liftoff for Ariane 5 marked the launch vehicle's 29th consecutive success.

Total payload performance for tonight’s mission was 8,511 kg., which included 7,420 kg. for the satellites, along with the associated integration hardware and the launcher’s SYLDA multi-payload dispenser system. 

HOT BIRD 10 is to be used by Eutelsat for cable and satellite broadcasting duties, and it ultimately will be located at the company’s “video neighborhood” orbital slot of 13 deg.  This 4,890-kg. spacecraft was manufactured by prime contractor EADS Astrium using the Eurostar E3000 spacecraft bus spacecraft, and is equipped with 64 Ku-band transponders.

SES NEW SKIES’ NSS-9 had a liftoff mass of about 2,240 kg. and is designed to provide 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.  Produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation with its Star-2 satellite bus, NSS-9 is configured with 44 active high-power C-band transponders, and will be positioned at an orbital slot of 183 degrees East.

The two 120-kg.-class Spirale satellites included as piggyback payloads for tonight’s mission represent the space segment for France’s SPIRALE demonstrator, which will help pave the way for a future defense early warning system.  These spacecraft were developed by Thales Alenia Space, 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 design is based on the Myriade small-sat platform developed by the French CNES national space agency.

Arianespace will continue its 2009 mission activity with a daytime flight on April 16, which is to launch the Herschel and Planck spacecraft on a European Space Agency mission to provide new data on the universe’s birth and the formation of stars.

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