Artemis mission update
Arianespace Flight 142 placed its dual satellite payload in a lower than desired orbit following a problem with the launcher's upper stage. For more information, please refer to the Artemis launch website http://www.esa.int/artemislaunch.
Just a few hours remain before ESA's latest and most ambitious telecommunications satellite is blasted into space to herald a new generation of communication services.
Artemis, together with its BSAT 2b passenger was rolled out of the assembly building aboard its Ariane 5 launch vehicle at Kourou's spaceport in French Guiana at 11.00 (local time) yesterday morning (11 July). A special tug truck carefully pulled the vehicle to the ELA 3 launch zone.
The painstaking 3.5 km journey, during which time the launch vehicle was cooled and powered with special support equipment, took 45 minutes and represented the last tender man-handling before ESA's latest satellite begins its mission.
The tenth launch for the heavy-lift Ariane 5, the launcher is due for lift-off at 18.58 (local time) 23.58 (Central European time). You can follow events and watch the launch live on the Artemis launch page.
"The last week's pre-launch activities have passed smoothly. With launch rehearsals and mock countdowns successful, the launch readiness review is entirely satisfied. It's all systems go and we are ready for the final countdown," said Artemis Project Manager Gottard Oppenhauser.
The nine hour countdown to launch began today at 09.58 (local time) 14.58 (Central European time) at the mission control centre in Kourou. Weather forecasters were predicting ideal conditions for the launch.
Many years of intensive work by ESA scientists and leading European industrialists has gone into the creation of Artemis - a satellite that will demonstrate new technologies and advance telecommunication and navigation systems world-wide.