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February 10, 2006

Spainsat & Hotbird TM 7a integrated

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The two satellites for Arianespace’s upcoming dual-payload Ariane 5 ECA mission are now being integrated with the launcher hardware in separate operations at Europe’s Spaceport. These two photos highlight the activity as preparations continue on track for the February 21 liftoff.

Eutelsat’s HOT BIRD TM 7a is positioned on the cone-shaped adapter that provides the interface between the spacecraft and its Ariane 5. This integration took place in the S5B high-bay area of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility. Built by Alcatel Alenia Space in Cannes, France, HOT BIRD 7a will have a mass at liftoff of 4,100 kg and will perform television and radio broadcast relay duties from its orbital position at 13 deg. East over Gabon.

SPAINSAT is lowered into place on the SYLDA 5 dispenser system, which allows Ariane 5 to carry two satellites on a single mission. In the final payload "stack," SPAINSAT and the SYLDA 5 will be installed atop HOT BIRD 7a on the Ariane 5. During flight, SPAINSAT will be deployed first, followed by the separation of SYLDA 5. The mission will be completed with the release of HOT BIRD 7a. SPAINSAT was built by U.S. manufacturer Space Systems/Loral in California, and will be operated by Hisdesat for government telecommunications. Weighing in at 3,683 kg for liftoff, the spacecraft will be positioned at an orbital slot of 30 deg. West, which places it over the Atlantic Ocean.

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