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Arianespace begins final assimilation for multi-sat mission

Final integration has begun for the multi-satellite payload to be carried on Arianespace's first Ariane 5 flight of 2009. Arianespace image

PARIS (BNS): Final preparations are underway for the multi-satellite payload to be carried on Arianespace’s first Ariane 5 flight of 2009, scheduled for February 12.

According to Arianespace officials, these preparations began with the installation of HOT BIRD 10 atop the adapter unit that will serve as its interface with Ariane 5’s payload ‘stack’. The activity occurred in the S5B integration hall of the Spaceport’s S5 satellite preparation facility, he said.

HOT BIRD 10 will ride as the upper payload on Ariane 5, and will be released first during the mission. Built for Europe’s Eutelsat telecommunications organisation by EADS Astrium, the satellite is based on the company’s Eurostar E3000 spacecraft bus.

“After its deployment by Ariane 5, HOT BIRD 10 will be positioned at Eutelsat’s premium video neighbourhood orbital slot of 13 degree East, for cable and satellite broadcasting. It is similar to the 4,880-kg HOT BIRD 9 satellite, which was orbited by Arianespace’s year-ending Ariane 5 mission on December 20,” the official said.

SES NEW SKIES’ NSS-9 relay platform, produced by Orbital Sciences Corporation will accompany HOT BIRD 10 on the launch. “NSS-9 will be positioned as the lower passenger in Ariane 5’s payload stack. Once in orbit, it will operate from a 183 degree East location, and provide communications links for SES NEW SKIES customers that include broadcasters, government users, carriers across the Pacific islands and the maritime industry,” he said.

A pair of 120-kg-class Spirale micro-satellites, which are demonstrators for a French space-based defence optical early warning system, will join NSS-9 and HOT BIRD 10 on Ariane 5’s February 12 flight. These piggyback payloads were produced by Alcatel Space for Spirale programme prime contractor EADS Astrium, the official said.

In the year 2009, Arianespace is planning six to eight Ariane 5 missions.

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