Press Release

Rosetta’s Ariane 5 rolls out

By SpaceRef Editor
December 20, 2002
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The Ariane 5 for Flight 158 was transferred from the
Spaceport’s launcher integration building to the final assembly
facility yesterday, marking a major milestone in this
upcoming deep-space mission.

The Basic version of Arianespace’s Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher
is partially complete, having undergone its initial build-up on a
mobile launch table in the integration building.

The Ariane 5’s central core stage was mated to the two
solid rocket boosters, and its vehicle equipment bay –
which contains the guidance, telemetry and control systems
– was added atop the core stage. Ariane 5’s EPS upper stage
then was integrated on the vehicle.

During the transfer yesterday, Flight 158’s Ariane 5 was
moved on its launch table along the dual rail track connecting
the various sites within the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex.

In the second photo, the Ariane 5 nears the final assembly
facility (in the background), while the second Ariane 5
mobile launch table is visible in the foreground.

Flight 158 will carry the European Space Agency’s Rosetta scientific
spacecraft, which will be launched on a 10-year mission to intercept
and study Comet Wirtanen.

A side view (third photo) clearly shows the Ariane 5/launch table
combination as it approaches the final assembly facility, which is at

The dome-shaped cover on top of Ariane 5’s core stage is temporary
protection that subsequently will be removed, allowing the Rosetta
satellite payload and its fairing to be installed.

In the bottom image, the Ariane 5 is rolled into the final assembly
building for the last phase of mission preparations.

Flight 158 is targeted for a January 12 liftoff, which is the opening of a
fixed 19-day launch window for the very specific trajectory that
Rosetta will follow on its multi-year space voyage.

Final clearance for this launch of an Ariane 5 Basic version is
pending a go-ahead from an inquiry board formed to investigate the
anomaly on Flight 157, which used a “10-ton” Ariane 5

SpaceRef staff editor.