Flight 196 is the 52nd Ariane 5 launch and the third in 2010. An Ariane 5 ECA (Cryogenic Evolution type A), the most powerful version in the Ariane 5 range, will be used for this flight.
Flight 196 is a commercial mission for Ariane 5. Launcher 554, the 48th production phase Ariane 5, is the twenty-sixth of the 30 PA contract launchers, for which Airbus Defence and Space is production prime contractor. 554 is consequently the twenty-sixth complete launcher to be delivered to Arianespace, integrated and checked out under Airbus Defence and Space’s responsibility in the Launcher Integration Building (BIL).
In a dual-payload configuration using the first ever SYLDA 5 K (seven metres high, i.e. 60 cm more than the usual SYLDA 5 A) system with an extended nose-cone (total height: 17 m), the launcher will carry the Egyptian NILESAT 201 satellite in the upper position and the African RASCOM-QAF1R satellite in the lower position.