ESA's SMART-1 ready to fly

SMART-1 is travelling to the Moon using a new solar-electric propulsion system
11 July 2003

After the completion of all mechanical and electrical verifications, ESA's SMART-1 passed its flight readiness review successfully on Tuesday, 8 July 2003.

SMART-1, Europe's first mission to the moon, will be sent to the ESA launch site at Kourou in French Guiana at the beginning of next week. The last electrical checks and fuelling will take place here before the spacecraft is mated with its Ariane 5 launcher. SMART-1 will be a co-passenger together with two other satellites on board this launcher. The launch is currently scheduled for 28 August 2003 (Kourou time).

SMART-1 will be the first ESA mission to test solar-electric propulsion as a main propulsion system. It will also test advanced miniaturisation technology which will pave the way for future planetary missions.

Giuseppe Racca, ESA's SMART-1 Project Manager, said: "Everything has gone as expected. We're proud of the work done and we are looking forward to sending SMART-1 to the Moon."

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