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FW: Ariane 503/ARD



Greetings all,

Here is an ESA press release concerning flight 503.

  --73 Dan NN0DJ--

> Ariane 503/ARD : A successful complete European space mission           
> 
> Europe has moved a step closer to flying its own complete space missions
> with the highly successful flight of an automatic capsule, the
> Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator (ARD).
> 
> ARD was released during the Ariane 503 flight on 21 October, shortly
> after separation of the launcher's cryogenic main stage (at an altitude
> of about 216 km) 12 minutes after lift-off from the Guiana Space Centre,
> Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
> 
> Engineers analysing data from its sub-orbital flight reported this week
> that all the capsule's systems had performed well and according to
> expectations.
> 
> ARD reached an altitude of 830 km and splashed down to within 4.9 km of
> its target point in the Pacific Ocean between the Marquises and Hawaii
> after one hour and 41 minutes. It was recovered some five hours later
> and will undergo more detailed technical analysis in Europe.
> 
> Engineers analysing real-time telemetry from the flight have reported
> that all electrical equipment and propulsion systems functioned
> nominally. Telemetry systems and reception stations all performed  well,
> and the onboard GPS receiver worked satisfactorily during the entire
> flight except, as expected, during black-out in reentry.
> 
> During reentry the heatshield temperature reached 900C and the cone and
> heatshield thermal protection was in a perfect state after retrieval.
> Throughout the flight ARD remained airtight and perfectly intact.
> 
> Built by Aerospatiale (France) for ESA, the ARD has a classical 
> Apollo capsule design and is packed with the most advanced technologies
> to test and qualify new technologies and flight control capabilities for
> atmospheric reentry and landing.
> 
> During the mission it recorded and transmitted to the ground more than
> 200 critical parameters for analysis of the flight and behaviour of
> onboard equipment.
> 
> Although not strictly a prototype of a possible future European Crew
> Transport Vehicle (CTV), which could fly to and from the International
> Space Station, ARD is a major step towards providing greater confidence
> in Europe's capabilities in reentry technologies for use  not only in
> the frame of crew and equipment transport but also for future re-usable
> launchers.
> 
> For the first time ever Europe has flown a complete space mission - from
> launching a vehicle into space to recovering it safely. This is a major
> step forward in Europe's capability for  developing and operating
> spacecraft that can return to Earth carrying people or equipment.
>  
> 
----
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