Flight 188 is the 44th Ariane 5 launch and the second in 2009. An ARIANE 5 ECA (Cryogenic Evolution type A), the most powerful version in the ARIANE 5 range, will be used for this flight.
Flight 188 is a scientific mission for Ariane 5. Launcher 546, the 40th production phase ARIANE 5, is the eighteenth of the 30 PA contract launchers, for which AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE is production prime contractor. 546 is consequently the nineteenth complete launcher to be delivered to Arianespace, integrated and checked out under AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE responsibility in the Launcher Integration Building (BIL).
In a dual-payload configuration using the SYLDA 5 “F” (4.9m high) system and a long pattern fairing (total height: 17m), the launcher is carrying the scientific satellites HERSCHEL in the upper position and PLANCK in the lower position.