Flight 186 is the 42nd Ariane 5 launch and the sixth in 2008. An ARIANE 5 ECA (Cryogenic Evolution type A), the most powerful version in the ARIANE 5 range, will be used for this flight.
This will be the 38th commercial mission for Ariane 5. Launcher 543, the 36th production phase ARIANE 5, is the fourteenth of the 30 PA contract launchers, for which AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE is production prime contractor. 543 is consequently the fifteenth 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 “A” (6.4m high) system and a long pattern fairing (total height: 17m), the launcher is carrying the telecommunications satellites HOTBIRDTM 9 in the upper position and W2M in the lower position.