Payload preparations for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission have marked a new milestone in French Guiana, with Eutelsat 8 West B undergoing its initial fit-check with launcher hardware.

On the upcoming mission – scheduled for August 20, and designated Flight VA225 in Arianespace’s numbering system – Eutelsat 8 West B will occupy the upper passenger position in Ariane 5’s dual-payload configuration. The 5.8-metric-ton-class relay platform was built by Thales Alenia Space and is designed to bring powerful new satellite broadcasting resources for Eutelsat Communications to the Middle East and North Africa – equipped with 40 operational Ku-band transponders primarily to serve DTH markets.

Also to be introduced with Eutelsat 8 West Bis a C-band mission to the 8 degrees West geostationary orbital slot, with 10 operational transponders connected to footprints covering the African continent and reaching west toSouth America.

Eutelsat 8 West B will be joined on Arianespace’s Flight VA225 by Intelsat 34, built by SSL (Space Systems Loral) for Intelsat, which will have a liftoff mass of more than three metric tons. Developed to meet the media distribution requirements of leading programmers for Latin America, Intelsat 34 also will support advanced broadband service to maritime and aeronautical providers serving the North Atlantic.