Status Report

Flight 130’s Ariane 5 is moved back to the final assembly building

By SpaceRef Editor
August 30, 2000
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Ariane 5 launch activity is back in full swing at Europe’s Spaceport as the Flight 130 campaign resumes for a September 14  liftoff and initial preparations begin for another mission with the heavy-lift launcher.
Flight 130’s launch vehicle was "awakened" last week from a standby status, enabling its transfer on Friday, August 25 from the Ariane 5 launcher integration building to the final assembly building.
The Flight 130 mission had been on hold since July, when Arianespace and its industrial team decided on a precautionary change-out of hardware.
With the Ariane 5 now in the final assembly building, the Flight 130’s dual satellite payload can be installed and the final integration/checkout steps completed.
The Flight 130 mission payloads are GE Americom’s GE-7 spacecraft and the Astra 2B for Luxembourg’s SociÈtÈ EuropÈenne des Satellites.
Last Friday’s transfer was the second time this Ariane 5 was moved from the launcher integration building to the final assembly building. It originally made the trip on July 6, but returned to the integration facility July 24 after an anomaly was detected during test-bench endurance testing in Europe on a future version of Ariane 5’s upper stage.
The European test firing anomaly occurred in an attitude control system thruster, and Arianespace decided to change out six similar thrusters on Flight 130’s Ariane 5 to ensure the highest level of reliability for the upcoming Ariane 5 mission.
The transfer of Ariane 5 from once facility to another at Europe’s Spaceport are made with the heavy-lift vehicle riding atop its mobile launch table – a massive platform on which the launcher passes the campaign from assembly through liftoff.
Arianespace had one Ariane 5 launch table at its disposition, but a second one is now undergoing final preparations for an accelerated entry into service. The no. 2 table originally was to have been ready later this year, but its introduction was moved forward to allow Arianespace to pick up the launch rate for Ariane 5.
The availability of a pair of tables enables two launchers to be prepared in parallel. (Arianespace has used two smaller launch tables in Ariane 4 operations for many years, providing a significant amount of flexibility in operations and scheduling.)
The formal acceptance of the second Ariane 5 launch table is planned for August

SpaceRef staff editor.