28 November 1995
The final M5 test in the campaign of development tests on the cryogenic main stage propulsion unit of Europe's Ariane- 5 launcher was performed successfully on 23 November 1995 at 3.40 p.m. (Kourou time) on the ELA-3 launch complex at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana. The test, which lasted 10 min 30 s, was the last in a series whose main purpose was to validate the performance of the stage propulsion unit and at the same time validate the ground facilities and the activation and check-out procedures for a "flight-type" stage.
Numerous filling and safety tests were carried out in the course of the campaign. Four nominal duration hot tests (approx. 10 min) were performed on 16 June, 23 October, 7 November and 23 November 1995, resulting in confirmation of the definition of the propulsion unit and ground facilities.
The M-test campaign was performed by CNES test teams under the responsibility of the prime contractor for the tests, SEP (Société Européenne de Propulsion), which is in charge of development of the propulsion unit and the Vulcain engine with which it is fitted.
It will be followed by a campaign of Q tests to qualify the stage. This campaign will be conducted under the responsibility of the stage authority, Aérospatiale, with a view to completing qualification of the cryogenic main stage before the Ariane 501 flight.
The European Space Agency has delegated the management of its Ariane-5 programme to CNES, the French space agency.