Ariane looks for payload

Ariane looks for payload
Steve Bush Ariane 503, the third and final developmental launch of the Ariane 5 rocket, is still looking for a payload. It was due to carry Eutelsat’s W2 satellite along side Aerospatiale’s ARD unmanned re-entry vehicle. However, Eutelsat has pulled out, moving W2 to an Ariane 4 launch. This leaves 503’s manifest several thousand kilograms short. To get Ariane 5 qualified for commercial traffic this third flight has to go ahead with a full load, so ESA now has to spend time developing a ballast weight that will fit the W2 mounting assembly. Sources suggest 503’s launch will be in late October. The first launch of Ariane 5 ended in disaster when the spacecraft exploded a few seconds after launch.


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