Headlines > News > Ariane 5 receives its upper stage propulsion system and the equipment bay

Ariane 5 receives its upper stage propulsion system and the equipment bay

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:10 pm
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Arianespace Press Release:

Initial buildup of the Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s upcoming dual-satellite mission has been completed in the Launcher Integration Building at Europe’s Spaceport.

The heavy-lift Ariane 5 was fitted this week with its ESC-A upper stage, which was installed atop the launcher’s 30-meter-tall main cryogenic stage. The ESC-A is a cryogenic propulsion system as well, carrying 14.7 metric tons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellant.

Power for the ESC-A is provided by an HM-7B engine, which previously was used on the Ariane 4’s third stage – and proven during many years of reliable service. The HM-7B delivers 6.5 metric tons of thrust in vacuum for a burn time of approximately 940 seconds, and its nozzle swivels in two axes for attitude control during flight.

Completing the Ariane 5’s basic build-up was installation of its vehicle equipment bay, which carries flight control and electrical systems, including two onboard computers, two inertial guidance units, sequencing electronics, power supplies and telemetry equipment.

In the photo at right, a launch team member controls an overhead crane that is bringing the vehicle equipment bay into position for placement on the ESC-A third stage. This picture, taken in the upper level of the Launcher Integration Building, also shows the ESC-A stage (in the foreground), which already is in place atop the Ariane 5.

The current integration activity is being performed by EADS Astrium, which is the Ariane 5’s industrial prime contractor. Once the basic Ariane 5’s checkout is completed, the launcher will be transferred to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building, where Arianespace takes delivery of the vehicle.

Arianespace is responsible for integration of the mission’s satellite passengers, the final vehicle verification, and its launch.

The upcoming heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission is targeted for early May, carrying the Galaxy 17 satellite for Intelsat and Astra 1L for SES Astra. This will be the second Ariane 5 flight for Arianespace in 2007, and follows the successful March 11 mission that orbited the U.K.’s Skynet 5A military communications satellite and India’s INSAT 4B television/telecommunications relay spacecraft.

Arianespace is planning a total of six Ariane 5 flights in 2007 as its launch pace accelerates to a stabilized rate of eight Ariane 5 missions annually by 2009.

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