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Three Astrium satellites onboard the next Ariane 5


Kourou.– Astrium is the prime contractor for three satellites that will be placed into orbit by the next Ariane launch: the HOT BIRDTM 10 broadcast satellite for Eutelsat, and the two satellites of the Spirale demonstrator for the French Armament Procurement Agency (DGA). Teams from Astrium are completing preparations on the three satellites at the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana. The scheduled launch date is 12 February 2009.

* The HOT BIRDTM 10 satellite is the third in a series of large broadcast satellites for Eutelsat

* The two Spirale satellites will enable Astrium to be the first in Europe to demonstrate a space-based, ballistic missile early warning system

* Astrium is prime contractor for the Ariane 5 rocket and three of the four satellites

The HOT BIRD™ 10 satellite is the third in a series of large, identical satellites built for Eutelsat benefiting from a total redundancy of 102 repeaters from the operator’s prime position at 13°E. The 102 repeaters operated at this position broadcast over 1100 TV channels to 120 million households.

HOT BIRD™ 8, 9 and 10 each have 64 Ku-band transponders – three times the capacity of the previous generation of HOT BIRD™ satellites, which were launched ten years ago. HOT BIRD™ 8, which was launched in August 2006, is still the most powerful European satellite that is operational in orbit. HOT BIRD™ 9, which was placed into orbit by the last Ariane 5 launch on 20 December 2008, has been successfully deployed and is currently completing its in-orbit tests.

HOT BIRD™ 10 is the 41st Eurostar satellite and the 16th satellite based on the Eurostar E3000 platform - which was first orbited successfully in 2004.

SPIRALE was manufactured for the DGA and is the French acronym for “Preparatory System for IR Early Warning”. The programme covers the supply and operation of a complete system able to collect and analyse infrared imagery against a land background for the validation of an early warning system. After processing and analyzing the collected data over an 18-month period, Astrium will be capable of establishing the characteristics and conditions for detecting ballistic missiles during their boost phase, just after launch. The ground control and operating segments are located in Toulouse, France, and will be operated by Astrium on behalf of the DGA during the operational phase.


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