Rosetta Launch On Hold
27 February 2004The liftoff of Arianespace Flight 158 will be delayed by a few days to allow for a minor repair to the external thermal protection on Ariane 5's core cryogenic stage.
A visual inspection of the cryogenic core stage detected that a 10 X 15-cm. piece of the protection was missing, giving reason for the countdown to be stopped. The inspection was made prior to the start of the stage's fueling.
The thermal protection insulates the stage's cold cryogenic propellants against the warmer external environment.
Ariane 5 will now be moved on its mobile launch table back to the Final Assembly Building, where a new block of thermal protection will be installed. Once the new piece is in place, the adhesive requires approximately 36 hours for its drying/curing process.
Resumption of the Flight 158 countdown is currently planned for the beginning of next week.