|Activities in Kourou - The Ariane Launcher|
XMM is an observatory designed to operate in the soft X-rays portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. With a large collecting-area telescope, its scientific instruments will be able to make observations of X-ray sources with an unprecedented sensitivity.
The XMM spacecraft will be placed in a highly eccentric orbit, which provides for long viewing times.
The countdown rehearsal for Flight 119/Ariane 504 was completed on 20 november
1999, providing a complete run-through of the final launch procedure to a
point just prior to main engine ignition.
The photo at right shows the Ariane 5 after its final positioning at the
ELA-3 Launch Zone. A launch technician at the base of the orange-colored
bogie (to the left of ESA logo on the launch table) is verifying that the
fixation device is properly installed to lock the table in place.
Overview photo at right provides an excellent panorama of the ELA-3 Launch
Zone. The Ariane 5 is in the middle, partially masked by the tower with
wind baffles. To the left and right are four pylons that provide
lightning protection for the launcher and the ELA-3 facility.
The two large flame ducts that funnel the Ariane 5 solid booster stages'
flames/exhaust after ignition and during liftoff are visible at left
(behind the tree) and at right (partially hidden by the trees and plants).
This view downward from one of the Final Assembly Building's workstands
shows the completed Ariane 5 as it awaits its transfer to the Launch Zone.
The main cryogenic stage dominates the left and center of the photo,
while one of the solid boosters is at right.