24 March 1997
The action being taken in response to the post-501 Inquiry Board findings (see ESA/CNES press release of 26 September 1996) has led to modifications to the Ariane-5 launcher's electrical systems and software.
Additional action and verification prompted by the ESA/CNES project team is being taken parallel to that arising from the Inquiry Board recommendations. It is being taken by industry and is regularly undergoing detailed review by the ESA/CNES project team, the launcher qualification board and the internal review groups set up by the main firms working on the programme.
This additional action, which does not call into question the design of the launcher nor its flight readiness, is intended to improve its robustness, increase the operational margins and allow for degraded operating modes. The 502 campaign schedule is contingent upon the time needed to carry out this action.
An analysis of all the implications of this action and verification was presented to ESA on Friday 21 March by CNES and Aérospatiale, the industrial architect; this now points to an Ariane 502 campaign start in mid-June, with a view to a mid September 1997 launch date.