The upper payload component for Arianespace's upcoming dual-satellite Ariane 5 mission is now complete at Europe's Spaceport, following the encapsulation of HOT BIRDT-9 inside the launcher's payload fairing.
Yesterday (December 9th), W2M was installed... today (December 10th), HOT BIRD-9 is the upper passenger mounted atop a SYLDA dispenser system, installed over W2M to complete the payload "stack" atop the Ariane 5's core cryogenic stage. The launch is scheduled to occur on December 20th, with HOT BIRD-9 expected to be deployed approximately 27 minutes into the flight. This is Arianespace's sixth — and final — mission of 2008. European telecommunications operator Eutelsat will operate both the HOT BIRD-9 and W2M satellites. HOT BIRD-9 was built by EADS Astrium, and will have a liftoff mass of 4,880 kg. Configured with 64 Ku-band transponders, this high-power satellite will serve as a relay for digital and new HDTV channels, as well as interactive services. From its location at 13° E, HOT BIRD-9's coverage area is to extend throughout Europe, and also reach North Africa and the Middle East. W2M was developed by a European-Indian alliance of EADS Astrium and ANTRIX
(the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation), and is to
have a liftoff mass of 3,460 kg. The spacecraft will provide television and radio broadcasting services.