On Monday, 21 September 1998 ESA and CNES held the Launcher Qualification Review in Evry, France. The review concluded that Ariane 503 launcher design justification files were progressing correctly. It also noted that modifications and testing at Kourou had been taken into account.
The launch campaign, which is being conducted by Arianespace, was resumed on 7 September and has been proceeding without incident.
The next major step is transfer of the vehicle from the launcher integration building to the final assembly building, currently planned for 3 October. The target launch date is now Tuesday, 20 October 1998, with a window opening at 1300 local time (1600 GMT or 1800 Central European Summer Time).
ARIANE 5 is a programme of the European Space Agency (ESA), which has delegated prime contractor responsibility for development of this new launcher to CNES.
Flight 503 is the final qualification flight, carried out under ESA responsibility. The launcher is the first unit of a production batch ordered by Arianespace from European industry. Launch operations at the ELA 3 launch complex at Europe's spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), are conducted by Arianespace.
For further information, please contact: ESA Public Relations Tel: +33(0) 126.96.36.19955 Fax: +33(0)188.8.131.5290