Final report on Ariane 5 launch failure on 6 Jan

EVRY(France) :Following the anomaly observed during Flight 157 on 11 December, Arianespace has decided -- in cooperation with the European Space Agency and French CNES space agency -- to create an inquiry board, which will submit its final report to Arianespace on 6 January 2003.

The inquiry board will be chaired by Wolfgang Koschel, Michel Courtois, - Fabrizio Felici, Rmy Hergott, - Robert Laine. The committee's three pronged aim will be to

(a) Establish the causes of the anomaly observed during Flight 157 - Ariane 5 ECA (the "10-ton" Ariane 5),

(b) Determine the eventual consequences of the anomaly on operations of basic Ariane 5 versions, in particular on preparations for the upcoming launch with the Rosetta deep space probe and

(c) Recommend measures to be taken to correct the problems observed.

Earlier in an official release, Arianespace had said that initial data analysis showed that the countdown, engine ignition and initial phase of flight were normal. A first anomaly occurred 96 seconds into the mission, involving the cooling circuit for the Vulcain 2 engine that powers the main cryogenic stage. From T + 178 sec to T + 186 sec, the engine speed changed and a significant flight control perturbation occurred. At T + 187 sec, the Ariane 5's payload fairing was jettisoned as planned, but the launcher's attitude was not correct. The launcher subsequently demonstrated erratic behavior.

In compliance with range safety procedures, the launcher was destroyed at approximately 456 seconds into the mission. The Ariane 5 was at an altitude of about 69 kilometers and a distance of 800 kilometers off the coast of French Guiana.

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