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N° 27–1994: ESA signs ARD contract with AEROSPATIALE

19 September 1994

Europe chooses the "simple, fast and economical" option. Europe has two years to develop and prepare for launch by Ariane-5 a space vehicle demonstrator that can be considered as the first step towards a future crew transport vehicle.
The demonstration vehicle, called the ARD or Atmospheric Re-entry Demonstrator, is the tangible result of the reorientation of ESA's manned space programme towards affordable concepts paving the way for Europe's contribution to the International Space Station programme.

ESA has decided to appoint A.rospatiale (France) as prime contractor for the ARD development contract. The unmanned ARD capsule, measuring 2.8 m in diameter and weighing about 3000 kg, will be launched in April 1996 by Ariane 502

This venture will be a first for Europe in many respects:

Jean-Marie Luton, ESA's Director-General, and Louis Gallois, Chief Executive of A.rospatiale, will sign the contract on Friday, 30 September 1994, at ESA Headquarters in Paris.

The signing ceremony will feature a briefing on the ARD programme by J.rg Feustel-B.echl, Director of ESA's Manned Spaceflight and Microgravity Programmes, and Bernard Humbert, Head of the Manned Spaceflight Programme Group at A.rospatiale Espace & D.fence.

Members of the press wishing to attend are asked to fill in the enclosed form and return it to ESA's Public Relations Department, if possible by fax ((33.1) 42.73.76.90).
The briefing will take place at 10 a.m., after which drinks will be served..


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