Status Report

Flight 130 – September launch date set for Ariane 5 mission following replacement of attitude control system

By SpaceRef Editor
August 4, 2000
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Arianespace’s Flight 130 is back on track following a launcher hardware change-out decision to ensure the highest level of reliability for the upcoming Ariane 5 mission.
The replacement of six thrusters in the Ariane 5’s attitude control system for Flight 130 was decided after another thruster failed during a test-bench firing in Europe. The firing was a long-duration test for the future "Versatile" version of Ariane 5’s EPS upper stage.
An investigation revealed a problem in the brazing of two pieces inside the failed thruster, which resulted in Arianespace’s postponement of Flight 130 from the original July 25 launch date.
"Our position is clear: we simply do not launch if there is any question about hardware or system reliability," Jacques Rossignol, Arianespace Executive Vice President, said. "When the thruster problem occurred in Europe, we wanted to make absolutely sure that we resolved all questions about the flight hardware on the Flight 130 launch vehicle in French Guiana."
Arianespace worked closely with Astrium, the attitude control system supplier, in investigating the thruster failure and developing a recovery plan for Flight 130. Together, it was decided to replace all six thrusters on the Flight 130 launcher’s attitude control system – selecting other thrusters after subjecting them to ultrasonic inspection.
The replacement thrusters will be test fired, and will be shipped to French Guiana for installation on the Ariane 5.
"We had excellent cooperation with Astrium throughout the entire process, which once again demonstrates the benefit of long-term relationships that have been established by Arianespace with its industrial team," Rossignol said.
The attitude control system for Ariane 5 is incorporated in launcher’s vehicle equipment bay, and consists of two thruster modules with three thrusters each. The hydrazine propellant-fed system ensures roll control during the flight of Ariane 5’s main cryogenic stage and its upper stage, as well as providing three-axis control during all satellite positioning maneuvers.
Flight 130 will carry the dual payload of the SES Astra 2B and GE Americom GE-7 satellites. The mission’s new launch date is set for September 14.

SpaceRef staff editor.