Status Report

Ariane Flight 162: The launch campaign is officially underway!

By SpaceRef Editor
July 19, 2003
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Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission moved into full swing today as
preparations began with the launch vehicle at the Spaceport.

Flight 162’s campaign officially started this morning when the Ariane 5
cryogenic core stage was removed from its protective shipping container and
erected in the Launcher Integration Building. The stage is built by the
European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.

Launch team members will mate the core stage with Ariane 5’s two solid
boosters on the mobile launch table. This will be followed by integration of
the vehicle equipment bay and the upper stage. When completed, Ariane 5 will
be transferred atop its mobile launch table to the Final Assembly Building,
where the mission’s three-satellite payload is to be installed.

As activity moved forward with the launcher, preparations also continued
with the mission’s satellite payload. As of today, the SMART-1 scientific
probe for the European Space Agency and the Indian Space Research
Organisation’s INSAT-3E spacecraft are undergoing checkout in the
Spaceport’s massive S5 payload preparation building. Eutelsat’s e-BIRD
satellite will be arriving in early August.

SMART-1 undergoing inspection in the S5B clean room after the opening of its
shipping container. SMART-1 arrived in French Guiana on July 15, having
landed at Cayenne’s Rochambeau International Airport aboard a chartered
An-124 cargo airliner

SMART-1 was built by the Swedish Space Corporation for the European Space
Agency, and is to be Europe’s first space probe to the Moon. The mission’s
main objective is to demonstrate key, innovative technologies for scientific
deep-space missions. SMART-1 is equipped with a Stationary Plasma
Hall-effect thruster from France’s Snecma to validate the effectiveness of
solar electric propulsion. The spacecraft’s scientific instrument package
will look for water in the form of ice on the Moon’s surface.

Liftoff of Flight 162 is set for late August.

SpaceRef staff editor.