The Ariane 5 for Arianespace's third flight to service the International Space Station has begun its build-up at the Spaceport, preparing this heavy-lift launcher for an early 2012 mission from French Guiana with a European Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo resupply vessel.
During activity in the Spaceport's Launcher Integration Building, the Ariane 5's core cryogenic stage was removed from its protective shipping container and raised into position over one of two operational mobile launch tables.
This cleared the way for rollout of the two solid propellant boosters, which will be mated to the core stage. It is to be followed by integration of the EPS storable propellant upper stage and vehicle equipment bay, completing the basic assembly for the Ariane 5 ES version used on missions with Automated Transfer Vehicles.
The upcoming flight will continue Arianespace's support of International Space Station servicing, orbiting ATVs that support operation of the crewed orbital facility. Named after Italian cosmic ray physicist Edoardo Amaldi, this latest Automated Transfer Vehicle will carry dry cargo, water and propellant.
The previous Ariane 5 missions with ATVs were launched by Arianespace in February of this year and in March 2008.
Related Research on ASDReports.com: