On Saturday 6 January the second and final qualification test (Q2) on the cryogenic main stage of Europe's Ariane-5 launcher was carried out on the ELA-3 launch site at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's Spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana.
This successful operation, lasting 9 minutes 53 seconds, completes the series of hot tests carried out on the ground on the Ariane-5 launcher's propulsion units.
This has cleared the way for confirmation of 21 February as the starting date for the first Ariane-5 launch campaign, with 7 May as the target for the launch itself (flight 501).
The cryogenic main stage has been developed by Aérospatiale, the stage authority, with the Société Européenne de Propulsion supplying its Vulcain engine.
The European Space Agency has delegated the management of its Ariane-5 programme to CNES, the French space agency.