Last earthly moments for Artemis
It’s all systems go as Artemis, ESA’s new telecommunication satellite, undergoes final preparations before being rolled out to the launch pad on Wednesday (11 July) as upper passenger atop an Ariane 5 in Kourou, French Guiana.
The last few days have been buzzing with activity as the new satellite, which will help change the future of world-wide communication, navigation and space-based satellite links, is prepared for launch this Thursday evening.
Arianespace engineers worked around the clock to fuel the launcher with its hydrazine and oxidizer fuels. The pyrotechnics on the launcher as well as on Artemis and the Japanese direct broadcasting satellite BSAT-2b (the lower co-passenger) have all been armed and the fairing doors closed ready for lift-off.
Teams of personnel at the launch site and the operation control centre in Fucino, Italy, are currently linking up with all other ground stations in a realistic simulation of the launch countdown. This final validation of all procedures is essential before the real event on Thursday evening.
The Ariane 5 will be moved out to the launch pad on Wednesday ready for an early evening launch the following day (18.58 local time, 21.58 GMT, 23.58 Europe). Hundreds of ESA personnel, scientists, project managers and media representatives are waiting in anticipation and will either watch the launch live from Kourou or via live video coverage from locations around Europe.
Many years of work have gone into the creation of Artemis - a satellite which will demonstrate new innovative propulsion and data relay technologies as well as enhance mobile communication and navigation systems globally.
"The build up to such an event is an exciting time for all involved. With the advances Artemis incorporates in its data relay payload we are looking forward to the benefits this will bring to inter-space communication and Earth observation activities,” said ESA's Artemis Project Manager Mr. Gotthard Oppenhauser.
“As for mobile and navigational systems, Artemis will promote new advances that will have a profound and positive effect on areas currently limited in coverage and accessibility,” he added.