Ariane-5 with Envisat on the pad

March 1, 2002

Paris, 28 February 2002

Ariane 5 and Envisat's roll-out seemed to go without a hitch but around 6 pm local time an anomaly with the venting at the level of the Vehicle Equipment Bay was discovered.

Technicians worked overnight to check the problem and today's roll-out started at 8 am local time, taking one hour. It takes another hour to finish connecting the launcher to the launch pad. This leaves the launch still on schedule, with final countdown set to begin around 11am local time for a 10.07 pm launch (02:07 CET). See the launcher via the Spaceport web-cams.

28 February 11:00 CET

During the night Ariane-5 was brought back to the final assembly building (BAF) for checkout. This morning it is being rolled out to the launch pad once more, ready for launch tonight.

You can follow the progress on the ESA Envisat launch page via the Spaceport web-cams. With our video on demand service you can learn more about Envisat and see replays of the main events, such as the rollout. February

The Envisat roll-out began at 10.30 am local time (14:30 CET). The door of the 90 m tall BAF building slid open, displaying the 52 m tall Ariane 5 launcher on its mobile launch platform, standing higher than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Except the Arc de Triomphe doesn't move, and the Ariane 5 does, progressing at a maximum speed of four km an hour. The steel-built mobile launch platform is being pulled along rail tracks spaced more than twenty metres apart by a surprisingly-normal looking tractor, painted ESA blue.

It will cross the main road - closed, of course, to traffic this morning - and make its stately way across to the launch site. The launcher is connected to a single umbilical tower, supplying fluids, electrical power and air conditioning. The concrete launch pad stands stark in the distance, distinguished by four lightning towers and a water tower.

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