Status Report

Arianespace Flight 159: Elements for the final Ariane 4 arrive in French Guiana

By SpaceRef Editor
January 3, 2003
Filed under , ,
Arianespace Flight 159: Elements for the final Ariane 4 arrive in French Guiana
Ariane 4

The main launcher components for Arianespace’s final Ariane 4 are now in
French Guiana as the result of two sea voyages from Europe to South America
aboard the MN Colibri transport ship.

A first shipment in November brought the Ariane 4’s first and third stages,
the vehicle equipment bay and an inter-stage skirt. This trip also carried
elements for the Ariane 5 to be launched in January on Flight 158 with the
Rosetta deep-space probe.

The remaining elements for Flight 159’s launch vehicle were aboard the MN
Colibri when it docked in Kourou today. One of the shipping containers with
flight hardware carried a shamrock symbol and the inscription: “Good luck
old lady for the last flight”

Flight 159 is set for the first half of 2003, and is scheduled to carry the
Intelsat 907 satellite. This mission is to mark the 116th – and final –
flight of an Ariane 4 as the launcher family is phased out in favor of the
new-generation Ariane 5 heavy-lift vehicle.

The Ariane 4 for Flight 159 will be configured in the 44L version, equipped
with four strap-on liquid propellant boosters for augmented thrust during
liftoff and the initial ascent. The upcoming mission will be the 40th flight
of the Ariane 4 in its 44L model.

Ariane 4 entered service in June 1988 on Flight 22, carrying a triple
satellite payload composed of PanAmSat’s PAS 1 telecommunications
spacecraft, the European Meteosat P2 meteorological platform and Amsat III
for the Amsat amateur radio organization.

During its highly successful operational lifetime, the workhorse launcher
demonstrated Arianespace’s capability to match up and launch multiple
spacecraft on a single mission – a procedure that will continue with even
larger satellites on the successor Ariane 5.

SpaceRef staff editor.