16 July 1997
Preparations for the second Ariane-5 qualification flight (A502) are going ahead simultaneously at the Ariane 5 launch complex (ELA-3) at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana, and at the main industrial sites in Europe.
The launcher preparation campaign began on 16 June in Guiana (see ESA/CNES press release of the same date) and is proceeding satisfactorily. The data output from the Launcher Countdown Rehearsal, which took place on 5 September, has now been analysed and the results are correct and in accordance with predictions.
However, in line with the overriding concern for rigour and achievement of maximum reliability on this second flight, additional studies and tests at launcher system level and below have proven necessary. While these have now almost all been completed with satisfactory results, some checks relating to analysis of the launcher's dynamic behaviour have yet to be completed.
It will not therefore be possible to announce a new target date for the launch - previously scheduled to take place on or soon after 30 September 1997 - until 25 September at the earliest, when the final steps in the launch campaign have been finalised.