Ariane 5 is ready for launch with its payload of the Hot Bird 10 and NSS-9 satellites

Arianespace’s first Ariane 5 for launch in 2009 is now complete following the full installation of its multi-satellite payload, keeping preparations on schedule for a 12 February evening liftoff from the Spaceport in French Guiana, Arianespace announced on 4 February.

The final assembly step occurred when Ariane 5’s upper payload "stack" component was installed atop the launcher. This element is composed of the Eutelsat Hot Bird 10 satellite, which is mounted on Ariane 5’s SYLDA dispenser system and encapsulated inside the launch vehicle’s protective payload fairing.

These payloads are to be deployed during a 34-minute mission, with Hot Bird 10 released first. It will be followed by the SYLDA dispenser’s separation, exposing NSS-9 at the base of Ariane 5’s payload stack for its own deployment in the flight sequence.