Preparations Underway For February 2011 Mission With Europe's
Assembly of the milestone 200th Ariane is now underway at the
Spaceport in French Guiana in preparation for its February 2011
mission with Europe's second Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV),
which will service the International Space Station.
Ariane 5 Booster Assembly
This Ariane 5 ES version of Arianespace's workhorse heavy-lift
launcher is being assembled in the Spaceport's Launcher Integration
Building, where activity began mid-week with the core cryogenic
stage's positioning over the mobile launch table. It was followed
by rollout of Ariane 5's two large solid rocket boosters for mating
with the core stage.
Ariane 5 is the latest version of Europe's Ariane launcher
family, which began operations in 1979 and has orbited a full range
of payloads that include telecommunications satellites, Earth
observation and meteorology platforms, space exploration probes,
along with defense and security spacecraft. Arianespace operates
two standardized versions of Ariane 5: the ES version for flights
to low- and medium-Earth orbits; and the Ariane 5 ECA for GTO
(geostationary transfer orbit) missions.
Ariane 5 Cryogenic Core Delivery
The ATV for next February's flight is named after German
astronomer/mathematician Johannes Kepler, and will be the second
such unmanned logistics spacecraft launched by Ariane 5. These ATVs
are part of Europe's contribution to the International Space
Station's operation and maintenance.