Press Release

Press Release

First Arianespace launch of the year a success - HOT BIRD 10, NSS-9, SPIRALE A and B in orbit

Kourou, February 12, 2009

On Thursday evening, February 12, Arianespace orbited two communications satellites: HOT BIRD™ 10 for European operator Eutelsat, and NSS-9 for the global operator SES New Skies, an SES group company. The mission also launched two microsatellites for the SPIRALE demonstration program. 

43rd Ariane 5 launch, 29th success in a row

The latest successful launch of an Ariane 5, the first in 2009, confirms that Arianespace’s launch Service & Solutions continue to set the global standard for all major space communications operators and manufacturers.

Ariane 5 is the only commercial heavy launcher in service today capable of simultaneously launching two payloads.

This was the 43rd launch of an Ariane 5 and the 29th successful launch in a row.

A launch for prestigious customers

Arianespace offers the best choice of launch solutions to meet the specific requirements of today’s leading operators.

Arianespace and Eutelsat have developed a very fruitful partnership over the last 25 years, with the European launcher lofting more than half of Eutelsat’s fleet. HOT BIRD™ 10 is the 24th Eutelsat satellite launched by Arianespace.

Following the successful launch of HOT BIRD™ 9 in December 2008, Arianespace is proud of its continuing role in bolstering Eutelsat’s flagship orbital position at 13 degrees East.

NSS-9, to be operated by SES New Skies, is the 31st satellite for the SES group of companies (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Bourse: SESG) to use the European launcher. The SES group is one of the world’s leading satellite operators.

Having already orbited the four Essaim microsatellites along with the Helios 2A satellite for French defense procurement agency DGA, as well as the Syracuse 3A and 3B satellites, Arianespace is continuing its partnership with the French Ministry of Defense.

HOT BIRD™ 10/NSS-9/SPIRALE A & B mission at a glance

The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 7:09 pm local time in Kourou (5:09 pm in Washington, D.C., 22:09 UT, 11:09 pm in Paris, and on Friday, February 13, at 1:09 am in Moscow, and at 7:09 am in Tokyo).

HOT BIRD™ 10. Designed to transmit television programs, HOT BIRD™ 10 is fitted with 64 high-power Ku-band transponders. A large satellite weighing 4,892 kg at liftoff, HOT BIRD™ 10 was built by EADS Astrium and is identical to the HOT BIRD™ 8 and 9 satellites. Prior to joining Eutelsat’s flagship HOT BIRD™ position at 13 degrees East the satellite will be located at 7 degrees West in order to increase resources at this location for broadcasting in the Middle East.

NSS-9. Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation using a Star-2 platform, NSS-9 will weigh about 2,290 kg at launch.

It is equipped with 44 active high-power C-band transponders and has a design life of at least 15 years. From its orbital position at 183 degrees West, it will offer seamless operational continuity to a variety of customers, including TV broadcasters, government users, operators and transport firms in the Pacific islands, as well as the maritime industry.

SPIRALE A & B. EADS Astrium was chosen by French defense procurement agency DGA (part of the Ministry of Defense) as prime contractor for the SPIRALE demonstration program. This program comprises the two microsatellites Spirale A and B, based on the Myriade platform designed by French space agency CNES.

The SPIRALE demonstration program is designed to collect infrared images of terrestrial backgrounds and analyze them to assess the detectability of ballistic missiles during their powered phase. It will pave the way for a future ballistic missile warning system, designed to monitor the proliferation of ballistic missiles, determine the origin of launches, and provide early warning of launches.

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