17 February 1993
The first test on the P230 solid booster for the European Ariane-5 launcher took place on 16 February 1993 at 1721h Paris time, on its teststand at the European spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana. The first indications are that the test went well; an initial report will be issued by 22 February, after the booster has been thoroughly inspected.
The test was carried out with the booster in "battleship" configuration, i.e. with a heavier structure than it will have in it flight version; it was the first of a series of eight that will be needed to qualify the launcher. The next test will be run once the results of the first have been analysed, and will then be done in "flight" configuration.
The Ariane-5 launcher will be fitted with two P230 boosters, each 30 metres high and containing 237 tonnes of propellant grain in three segments. Each booster has a thrust equal to that of the most powerful Ariane-4 (the A44L version), which makes it the most powerful booster ever built in Europe.
This first test was run under the responsibility of Europropulsion (a firm owned jointly by Difesa e Spazio, of Italy, and the French Societe Europeenne de Propulsion) and CNES (the French space agency). CNES designed the teststand, and was in charge of carrying out the test. The P230 solid booster forms part of the European Space Agency's Ariane-5 Programme, the prime contractorship of which ESA has delegated to CNES.
Television channels wishing to obtain a Betacam cassette of this test (4 minutes duration) should send a fax to 188.8.131.52.76.90.