Just a few hours remain before ESA’s latest and most ambitious
telecommunications satellite 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 launcher is due for lift-off at 18:58 (local time) 23:58 (European time)
and will become the tenth launch for the heavy-lift Ariane 5.

“The last week’s pre-launch activities have passed smoothly. With launch
rehearsals and mock countdown’s 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 Mr Gottard Oppenhauser.

The nine hour countdown to launch began today at 09:58 (local time)
14:58 (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.

Related News

* All systems go for launch


* Keeping cool in a crisis – Artemis launch rehearsals


* ESA’s Artemis telecommunications satellite to be launched in July


Related Links

* Artemis launch page


* Telecom homepage


* Artemis homepage



[Image 1:
The two raised concrete flame ducts that funnel the Ariane 5 solid booster
stages’ exhaust are evident as they angle out from the launch pad. In the
middle is the in-ground flame duct for the Vulcain engine of Ariane 5’s
core stage. Photo:Arianespace.

[Image 2:
The Ariane 5 is mounted on its launch table, which rides a dual rail track
linking the final assembly building with the ELA-3 launch zone. The vehicle
rolled out of the Ariane 5 final assembly building this morning at 11:00 a.m.,
and covered the 3.5 km. distance to the ELA-3 launch zone in approximately
45 minutes. It rode on the mobile launch table, which was pulled by a special
tug truck. Photo: Arianespace.