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N° 41–1996: Qualification of Ariane-5 plan of action for a resumption of flights

11 September 1996

Mr Jean-Marie Luton, Director General of ESA, and Mr Alain Bensoussan, Chairman of CNES, today presented a plan of action drawn up in response to the report submitted in July by the Ariane 501 Inquiry Board (see ESA-CNES joint press release of 23 July).

ESA and CNES, together with the firms concerned, have accepted all the Inquiry Board's recommendations, and in particular:

The industrial architect will henceforth be assuming the role of "software architect" and this will allow it not only to verify all software incorporated in equipment but also to ensure the overall functional integrity of the launcher. All the software concerned will be subject to qualification reviews in which outside experts will take part.

Additional action is also being taken, over and above the Board's recommendations.

The working methods used in the Launcher Qualification Review have been modified, one change being to introduce specialised audits on the most complex launcher systems to provide closer analysis wherever this is deemed necessary. A comprehensive review of the launcher's qualification is being undertaken with, in particular, a systematic effort to identify "degraded" modes of operation that could affect launcher elements, whether redundant or not.

For the conduct of the lead-up to the 502 flight, CNES and the industrial architect have set up an enhanced joint team that will report to a supervisory body consisting of three senior managers drawn from the two organisations.

Action is already under way on all these fronts. Assuming the programme of work identified and subject to confirmation of its satisfactory completion, the aim is for the Ariane 502 campaign to begin in February 1997 for a launch in mid-April. The launch of Ariane 503 will also form part of the Ariane-5 qualification process and could take place in September 1997.

Concerning the payloads to be flown on the two launchers, the initial development approach is confirmed:

The financial impact through to the end of qualification of the failure of the first launch is at present estimated at 288 MECU. It is currently envisaged that this cost would be funded by:

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