Ariane 5 ECA launches HOT BIRD 9 and W2M

by Nic Daley

An Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle has launched for the sixth and final time in 2008, lofting the HOT BIRD 9 and W2M telecommunication satellites into orbit from Kourou, French Guiana.

The launch marks the 42nd launch of the commercial launcher, and is the sixth flight performed by Arianespace in 2008. Five other successful launches that orbited eight telecommunications satellites and the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle for the International Space Station (ISS) took place during the year.

The dual-payload mission was carried out for Eutelsat, the HOT BIRD 9 and W2M satellite passengers will have a combined lift-off weight of approximately 8,340 kg.

HOT BIRD 9 is installed in the upper position of Ariane 5’s dual payload “stack,” and will be released first during the mission sequence.

This spacecraft was produced by EADS Astrium and carries 64 Ku-band transponders for the broadcast of digital and new high-definition TV channels. HOT BIRD 9 will be positioned at Eutelsat’s premium video orbital slot of 13 degrees East after its launch on Ariane 5.

The spacecraft’s broad footprint and high emission power will allow digital and new HDTV channels – along with interactive services – to be received by small DTH antennas and cable and community networks throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The three-axis stabilized satellite is designed for an operational lifetime of more than 15 years, with an end-of-life power of 14.5 kW.

The HOT BIRD 9 satellite was mounted atop a SYLDA dispenser system, which was installed over the second passenger – W2M – to complete the payload “stack” atop the Ariane 5’s core cryogenic stage.

The W2M satellite, carried in Ariane 5’s lower passenger slot, was built by a European-Indian joint effort involving EADS Astrium and ANTRIX (the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation).

The spacecraft will be located at Eutelsat’s 16 degrees East orbital position, typically providing 26-transponder coverage in Ku-band – with the equivalent of up to 32 transponders depending on operational modes.

It is designed to provide services that range from television broadcasting to data networks and broadband. The satellite’s fixed beam will cover Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, while a steerable beam can be re-oriented in-orbit according to market requirements – notably towards Africa and central Asia.

2009 is set to be a historical year for Arianespace, as they look to start up launch operations in Kourou for their Soyuz vehicles, while Vega is scheduled to enter operation with a target payload lift capability of 1,500 kg.

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