TS News - Arianespace Plans Ariane-5 Launches

TELE-satellit News, 29 September 1996

Arianespace Plans Ariane-5 Launches
  PARIS, France, 96/09/29 (SatND) -- The second launch of Europe's new
Ariane 5 commercial space rockets, initially scheduled for this month, has
been postponed to mid-April. The first Ariane-5 rocket exploded shortly
after lift-off in June, destroying four uninsured scientific satellites
worth US$500 million.

  Jean-Marie Luton, Director General of the European Space Agency, and Alain
Bensoussan, Chairman of French space agency CNES, presented an action plan
drawn up in response to the report submitted by the Ariane 501 Inquiry Board.

  The ESA and CNES, together with the firms concerned, have accepted all the
Inquiry Board's recommendations, and in particular:

  - correction of the software in the inertial reference system (SRI);

  - changes to the functional simulation facility to make the qualification
tests more representative of the flight environment;
  - review of all embedded software.

  The launch of Ariane 503 will also form part of the Ariane-5 qualification
process and could take place in September 1997. Concerning the payloads to
be flown on the two launchers, the initial development approach was
confirmed. Ariane 502 will carry two technological measurement payloads for
validation of a dual launch into geostationary transfer orbit and the
amateur radio satellite AMSAT; Ariane 503 will launch the Atmospheric
Reentry Demonstrator (ARD, a technology demonstration capsule for a future
European manned space transport vehicle) and a commercial payload.

  The financial impact of the Ariane 501 launch failure through to the end
of the qualification is presently estimated at ECU288 million (S$384 million.)

  Speaking to a press conference in Kourou, French Guiana, Arianespace
chairman Charles Bigot today admitted that the transition period from Ariane
4 to Ariane 5 "has now become delicate. We have taken the decision to order
more Ariane 4 rockets- I cannot now give you an exact number but I would
estimate it to be about five or six to meet the demands of our clients
scheduled for launch in 1999."

  The reliable Ariane 4 launcher originally was due to be phased out in
2000. Arianespace has on order 22 more Ariane-4 rockets and 14 Ariane-5
rockets to service a customer backload of 42 heavy satellites to launch
worth an estimated $4.1 billion.

  By: Peter Klanowski
  Source: SatND

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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