Status Report

Ariane Mission Log: Flight 137 – It’s a go Flight 137!

By SpaceRef Editor
January 6, 2001
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Final preparations are underway for Arianespace’s first launch of 2001 following today’s formal go-ahead at the Spaceport in French Guiana.

The go-ahead came after Flight 137’s launch readiness review, which validated readiness of the satellite payload, its launcher, the ground infrastructure and downrange tracking stations.

Flight 137’s launch campaign has been particularly long due to technical issues that required additional inspection and verification. A short delay in early December enabled a checkout of the Ariane 4’s payload fairing after an anomaly was detected during the final pre-launch inspections. The fairing was opened inside the launch gantry and rapidly re-installed on the launcher.

This was followed in mid December by another schedule slip for additional checkout of the Eurasiasat 1 satellite payload, which was requested by spacecraft manufacturer Alcatel Space. To accomplish the inspection, Eurasiasat 1 was removed from the Ariane 4 and returned to the S3B satellite preparation building.

Eurasiasat 1 was transferred back to the launch zone and installed atop its Ariane 4 on January 3, allowing the launch campaign to resume. Monaco-based Eurasiasat will operate the Eurasiasat 1 satellite from its position at 42 deg. E.

Pierre Collet, Arianespace’s Head of Operational Production at the Spaceport, said Flight 137 demonstrated the ability of Arianespace and the Ariane industrial system to react to changing conditions.

“The team was up to the challenge each time, and it handled all of the changes in stride,” he said. “Flight 137 showed the professionalism and experience of the entire Ariane launch team.”

Collet noted that launch personnel based in Kourou and from Europe returned to the launch site to work between Christmas and the New Year in order to have everything ready for the resumption of operations in January.

SpaceRef staff editor.