The initial Ariane 5 flight of 2011 enters its final countdown for a milestone mission
The final countdown is now underway for the milestone 200th flight of an Ariane launch vehicle, which tonight will orbit the first operational Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
During a mission lasting just over one hour – which includes two burns of the launcher’s EPS storable propellant upper stage – the ATV will be deployed by Ariane 5 into a 260-km. circular orbit. Liftoff is scheduled precisely at 7:13:27 p.m., local time in French Guiana.
Named after German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler, tonight’s payload is the second ATV to be launched by Arianespace for the European Space Agency – following the orbiting of Europe’s first such logistics spacecraft aboard an Ariane 5 in 2008.