Feeds

Ariane 5 ECA launch is go

Second time lucky for heavy-lift launcher?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The European Space Agency's Ariane 5 ECA rocket has been greenlighted for blast-off tomorrow from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. The 50m (160ft) high vehicle will carry an XTAR-EUR telecommunications satellite, the Sloshsat-FLEVO experimental mini-satellite - designed to "investigate the dynamics of fluids in weightlessness" - and a telemetry/video imaging package which will gather flight data.

The Ariane 5 ECAESA rocketeers are hoping that the payload does not actually end up in the Atlantic - as happened during the last Ariane 5 ECA launch in 2002. The exploding rocket dumped £30m worth of telecoms kit into the ocean after exploding four minutes into its flight. The cause of the failure was later identified as a fault in the Vulcain engine nozzle's cooling circuit which resulted in the nozzle deforming. This, in turn, sent the rocket off course provoking automatic self-destruct. The Vulcain is the Ariane 5 ECA's main cryogenic engine which is supported by two solid boosters. Atop the main stage is the payload-bearing second stage - itself equipped with a cryogenic engine.

The ESA says it has rectified the problem and has, moreover, given the latest Ariane 5 ECA more muscle than its unfortunate predecessor in the form of increased thrust from both the twin solid boosters and upper cryogenic stage. The maximum payload is estimated at 10 tonnes - impressive, but still three tonnes short of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy. Nonetheless, the Boeing monster is earmarked for military ops, leaving Ariane a clear run at the civil sector.

Much rests on the success of the mission. "Ariane 5-ECA will be the workhorse of our company, and of the European space industry as well, for the next 10 years," Arianespace's chief Jean Yves Le-Gall told the BBC. "So this launch is very important," he added with a certain degree of understatement. He has some cause for optimism - in 2004 a less potent Ariane 5 "Generic" successfully deployed a six-tonne comms satellite in a morale-boost for the programme. ®

Related stories

Space launches make kids sick
NASA scramjet goes for Mach 10 burn
Ariane 5 powers satellite into orbit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.