Сегодня должен состояться первый коммерческий запуск ракеты Ariane 5

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?? Serge Pod #10.12.1999 14:05
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Сегодня должен состояться первый коммерческий запуск ракеты Ariane 5

Сегодня 10 декабря на космодроме Куру во Французской Гвиане в 11 часов 32 мин по местному времени должен состояться первый коммерческий запуск новой ракеты Ariane 5 производства европейского консорциума Arianespace. Ракета Ariane 5 должна вывести на орбиту космический рентгеновский телескоп XMM (X-Ray Multimirror Mission) весом 3,9 тонны, его длина - 13 м, диаметр - 4,5 м. Этот телескоп принадлежит Европейскому космическому агентству, которое заплатило Arianespace за его вывод на орбиту 154 млн дол. Общая стоимость всего проекта XMM составляет 700 млн дол. Телескоп XMM предназначается для исследования рентгеновского излучения, испускаемого некоторыми горячими удаленными звездами.

Источник: InfoArt News Agency

Friday, 10 December, 1999, 06:53 GMT
Ariane ready to go



Artist's impression of XMM in orbit (D. Ducros - Esa)




By BBC News Online's Damian Carrington in Kourou, French Guiana

All systems are go for the first commercial launch of Ariane 5.

To a large extent the future of the European space industry now sits on the launch pad, with the last of the 400 tonnes of rocket fuel being pumped on board.



Ariane 5 countdown
-9h 00m - Final countdown begins
-5h 20m - Start filling main fuel tank
-6m 37s - 'All systems go' report - launch sequence starts
-44s - Ignition system starts
-29s - Onboard computer takes control
-15s - Guidance systems unlocked
0s - Solid fuel boosters ignite
+0.3s - Lift off

It should arc over the Atlantic Ocean heading for space. And, after 30 minutes, it should have delivered a $689m satellite built by the European Space Agency (Esa) safely into orbit.

Robert Laine, project manager for the XMM (X-ray Multi-Mirrors) observatory which makes up Friday's payload, told BBC News Online: "We are not worried at all.

"All the teams are very happy and relaxed. We have a good rocket and a good satellite."

Success is vital for Arianespace's new generation of rocket, if the company is to continue to dominate the global satellite launch business.

The stakes are also high for the European Space Agency, which has entrusted its most expensive and complex science satellite to Ariane 5.

Although just one of the three previous test flights was a complete success, the Arianespace and ESA teams are upbeat.

"I am always nervous before any launch because it is quite a feat," said Jean-Marie Luton, Chairman and Chief Executive of Arianespace.



Technitians load XMM with the hydrazine fuel

"But I am most confident as the testing has gone very well and the quality of the product is excellent."

The only glitch so far on launch day was a picket of strikers delaying people entering the Guiana Space Centre by up to one hour. Three unions are demanding the creation of 250 jobs for local people.

"We are doing this to let the bosses know that we need this work," said Kenneth Arthur, a mechanic. "Just now this base is only for France, not Guiana."

However, all mission-critical staff were on the base by 0400 local time.



Flight sequence
+6s - Rocket begins to pitch
+10s - Rocket begins to roll
+2m 16s - Solid fuel boosters jettison
+3m 09s - Protective fairings jettison
+9m 42s - Liquid fuel stage seperates
+9m 49s - Upper stage ignites
+26m 33s - Upper stage firing ends
+28m 47s - XMM satellite deployed
Ariane 5 is the most powerful vehicle ever produced in Europe, with 1,200 tonnes of thrust. Just one of its two solid fuel boosters is more powerful than the whole of its predecessor, Ariane 4.

If all goes well, then the rocket, travelling at 35,000 km/h, will deliver the satellite into its elliptical orbit 29 minutes after lift-off.

There may then be one minute of telemetry data reporting the satellite's condition, received by the tracking station near Madrid, Spain.

If not, first contact will be made from Perth, Australia, about one hour after launch.

Nobody is contemplating failure. Nevertheless, the spectre of the first experimental Ariane 5, which exploded in 1996, still haunts the launch.

BBC

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?? Serge Pod #11.12.1999 09:11
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Ариан -5 успешно вывела на орбиту европейскую рентгеновскую космическую обсерваторию.

http://www.spaceviews.com/1999/12/images/a504launch.jpg [zero size or time out]

An Ariane 5 booster successfully launched a European X-ray observatory early Friday, December 10.

The Ariane 5 lifted off at 9:32 am EST (1432 UT) from the ELA-3 launch site at Kourou, French Guiana. Within one hour of launch the booster's payload, the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM) spacecraft, had deployed and was communicating with ground controllers.

The booster put XMM into an initial orbit of 850 by 114,000 km (525 by 70,600 mi.). A series of thruster firings over the next week will raise the perigee of XMM's orbit to its planned final value of 7,000 km (4,300 mi.) After a period of testing and calibration, XMM will be fully operational be the spring of 2000.

The successful launch of the 689-million euro (US$703-million) spacecraft is seen as a big boost for ESA's science program. "XMM is the biggest and most innovative scientific spacecraft developed by ESA so far," said Roger Bonnet, ESA science director. "The world's astronomers are queuing up to use XMM to explore the hottest places in the universe."

XMM is similar to Chandra, NASA's own large X-ray observatory launched in July. Both Chandra and XMM fly in elliptical orbits, and are equipped with cameras to take images of X-ray sources and spectrographs to measure the energy levels of the various X-rays these sources emit.

However, the two telescopes do serve complementary roles. Chandra's strength is its ability to take high-resolution images, with resolutions as sharp as 0.5 arcseconds. XMM, however, will be able to see fainter X-ray sources than Chandra, because of the larger collecting area of its mirrors.

In addition, XMM features a small optical telescope mounted on the spacecraft. The 30-cm (12-inch) telescope will permit simultaneous optical and ultraviolet observations of X-ray sources such as quasars and accretion disks.

The launch also marks the first commercial use of the Ariane 5 heavy-lift booster, after the booster completed a series of three qualification test flights with the launch of Ariane 503 in October 1998. This launch, designated Ariane 504, was originally scheduled for mid-1999, but was pushed back when the communication satellites it was to launch were indefinitely delayed.

Arianespace plans to launch as many as six Ariane 5 boosters in 2000, as it begins to phase out the workhorse Ariane 4 in favor of the Ariane 5 and its larger capacity.



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?? Serge Pod #12.12.1999 14:21
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Европа запустила на орбиту космический телескоп
В Южной Америке с космодрома во французской Гвиане стартовала ракета Ariane-5, которая вывела на околоземную орбиту четырехтонный космический телескоп ХММ (X-Ray Multimirror Mission), - сообщает Reuters. С помощью больших зеркал телескоп будет следить за рентгеновскими излучениями далеких звезд. Это поможет ученым определять границы черных дыр и находить в космосе сильные источники энергии и тепла. Аппарат, сконструированный немецкой фирмой Dornier, принадлежит Европейскому космическому агентству (ESA).
За три часа до запуска дорогу к стартовой площадке перекрыли бастующие сотрудники французского космического центра CNES. Они протестовали против установленного компанией графика работы. Акция никак не отразилась на подготовке запуска, но журналистам и гостям мероприятия пришлось идти к месту старта пешком.

Это четвертый запуск ракеты-носителя Ariane-5. Ей предрекали большое будущее, но во время первого запуска в 1996 году первая ракета серии взорвалась. С тех пор было проведено еще два успешных запуска, и нынешний удачный старт может означать, что этот тип ракеты-носителя будут активно использовать и в дальнейшем. Ariane-5 способна выводить на геостационарную орбиту спутники весом до 6 тонн, и спрос на такие услуги сегодня весьма велик. Сейчас программа может выполнять примерно 5 запусков в год, но к 2005 году планируется увеличить ее возможности.

В прошлом году на запуски тяжелых спутников было потрачено 45 миллиардов долларов, и специалисты предсказывают, что в ближайшем будущем этот рынок увеличится втрое. Lenta.ru
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