On Friday, 1 September, flight control tests were carried out on the development and qualification version of the cryogenic main stage for the Ariane-5 European launcher at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The tests had to be suspended when a high-pressure oil line burst.
A board was set up immediately to analyse why this mishap occurred and to propose corrective action. The impact on the Ariane-5 time schedule and, in particular, on the date of the first launch is being studied, and information will be forthcoming.
The cryogenic main stage is being developed under the responsibility of Aérospatiale (France) with SABCA (Belgium) taking charge of development of the flight control system.
The European Space Agency has delegated the management of its Ariane-5 programme to CNES, the French space agency.