INTRODUCTION: In 1973, member states of the European Space Agency decided to develop their own satellite launcher.
TV & SV Part of assembly being rotated in factory (2 shots)
GV PAN UP Technicians inspecting the base
CU Technician. PULL BACK TO SV electronic panel being lowered into housing (3 shots)
CU PULL BACK TO SV Technicians removing protective covers (2 shots)
SV PAN TO GV Assembly in cargo net, waiting to be loaded on aircraft
SV Assembly being loaded on aircraft (2 shots)
SV Aircraft taxiing on runway
AERIAL V Guiana space centre
SV Space centre roof, with flags
GV & SV Technicians assembling Meteosat (5 shots)
GV Technician inspecting finished assembly
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In 1973, member states of the European Space Agency decided to develop their own satellite launcher. That decision gave birth to the Ariane programme, a three stage launcher designed for a variety of missions. Development and testing is now almost completed, and the Ariane Launcher will become operational on June 19.
SYNOPSIS: The prime contractor for the development phases of the launcher is France's National Centre for Space Studies, known simply as CNES....although more than 50 firms from the ten participating countries, have worked on the project.
The design of Ariane is based on technology already known in Europe. The first and second stages are equipped with engines using storable propellants. The third stage engine is powered by liquid hydrogen and oxygen frozen at extremely low temperatures. The launcher fairing, which carries the satellite, consists of two aluminum half-shells with a tail section of transparent plastic material.
Ready for launching by Ariane next Friday (19 June) is Meteosat Two, which will observe weather systems over a large part of the Earth's surface. It will be launched in tandem with India's experimental communication satellite, called Apple.
The launch site has been set up at the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana. Its near-equatorial location is extremely favourable for the launching of all geostationary satellites.
The Ariane launch base also has facilities for the final assembly, checking and launch operations. There are also two tracking stations, located in Natal, Brazil, and in Ascension Islands to monitor the complete path of the launcher's thrust phase. The continuing Ariane development programme, aims to design and construct even more powerful launchers in Ariane Two and Three. These are intended to meet the growing demand for larger satellites.
But for now attention is focused on next Friday's tandem launch of the Apple and Meteosat Two satellites.