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Infos
Ariane 5 stages are shipped to the Kourou port on the MN Toucan and MN Colibri cargo vessels.
But why did we choose the Equator ?
The Guiana Space Center (CSG) offers a significant competitive advantage for launches into geostationary orbit, because it is at a low latitude and satellites are injected very efficiently into an orbit near the equatorial plane.
Le Havre
@arianespace
The launcher stages in their containers are loaded in the boat at Le Havre. (Bremen and Rotterdam)
The launcher stages are shipped via river and maritime transport from production sites in Europe to the ports of Le Havre, Rotterdam and Bremen, except for the solid boosters, produced in French Guiana. The stages are carried by the MN Toucan and MN Colibri cargo ships.
Note: the boat also makes a stop at Livorno to pick up certain solid booster components.


Le Havre
@arianespace
The ship is en route for French Guiana.
The MN Toucan and MN Colibri are designed with sufficient draft to ensure stability while crossing the Atlantic, but also shallow enough to navigate in the estuary of the Kourou river. These ships are certified for the transport of hazardous materials.
Kourou
@arianespace
The ship is anchored at Pariacabo dock on the Kourou river.
The MN Toucan, carrying Ariane 5 stages, arrives at Pariacabo dock after a sea voyage lasting 12 days.

Kourou
@arianespace
The launcher stages are unloaded for transfer to the launch base.
After unloading, the launcher stages are transported by truck, then stored in the Launcher Integration Building while awaiting the start of the launch campaign.
Kourou
@arianespace
Arrival of satellites on a cargo plane at the Cayenne airport, 60 km from Kourou.
Satellites arrive in French Guiana on a cargo plane chartered by customers. They are in climate-controlled containers, ready to start preparations for launch. The satellite and all accompanying material are then loaded in special trucks for the trip to CSG, 60 km from the airport.

Kourou
@arianespace
Arrival of the satellites in the preparation building.
The satellites arrive at the Guiana Space Center and are unloaded in the S5 payload preparation building, provided for use by customers.

BIL
@arianespace
Erection of the main cryogenic stage (EPC).
Each Ariane mission starts in the Launcher Integration Building. Over a period of four weeks, the launcher is assembled and checked directly on its launch table. The cryogenic main stage is removed from its container, then vertically erected on the solid boosters.

BIL
@arianespace
Assembly of the solid boosters.
The two solid boosters are the only launcher parts to be manufactured in French Guiana. They are transferred to the Launcher Integration Building on the first day of the campaign.

BIL
@arianespace
Assembly of the cryogenic upper stage and vehicle equipment bay (upper composite).
The upper composite is assembled, then mechanical and electrical connections are made to the cryogenic main stage and the cryogenic arms on the launch table.

BIL
@arianespace
Satellite checks and preparation.
Satellites undergo a series of electrical and mechanical tests, along with leaktightness tests for the propulsion system. The second part of satellite preparation mainly involves filling the propellant tanks in areas reserved for hazardous operations.

BAF
@arianespace
Transfer of Ariane 5 to Final Assembly Building (BAF).
The launcher is ready for its satellites. It is transferred from the Launcher Integration Building to the Final Assembly Building on a dual rail track. This phase lasts 2.5 weeks.

BAF
@arianespace
Transfer of satellites to the Final Assembly Building (BAF).
After propellants are loaded on the satellites, they are placed in a payload container and transferred to the Final Assembly Building.

Transfert ZDL
@arianespace
Transfer of Ariane 5 to the launch pad.
Once the launcher and satellites are mated, they are transferred to the launch zone; this takes about one hour at a speed of 3 km/h. The launch table is towed by a specially modified truck with a "synchromesh" gearbox. A fiber-optic cable is unrolled between the Final Assembly Building and the launch table, enabling the continuous monitoring of satellites throughout the transfer operation.

Transfert ZDL
@arianespace
Launch Center (CDL).

Launcher assembly checks are carried out from the Launch Center No. 3, three kilometers from the launch zone. This center is equipped with a number of control stations, used during the final countdown to control propellant filling and monitor readings to give a green light for liftoff.
BAF
@arianespace
Combined launcher-satellite operations at the Final Assembly Building.
Satellites are installed on the launcher in the Final Assembly Building, which is 90 meters high. Arianespace coordinates satellite mechanical assembly and electrical connections before transfer to the launch zone.

Launch
@arianespace
Launch.
The Ariane 5 launch zone is designed to allow Launch Center No. 3 to remotely control the filling of the two cryogenic stages from two mobile tanks containing liquid hydrogen and oxygen, and then to carry out final checks before liftoff. The synchronized sequence starts at T-7 minutes, and is designed to perform the final launcher activations prior to transition to flight configuration. It is fully automated and continues until T-4 seconds. At that point, the onboard computer takes over management of the final steps in igniting the engines and liftoff: it starts the Vulcain 2 ignition sequence at T-0, checks engine readings and then authorizes the ignition of the solid boosters that will provide liftoff at T+7.3 seconds.

Program Director (Sales & Marketing Directorate)
From the time the contract is signed, the Program Director coordinates all activities concerning the execution of the contract between the customer and Arianespace. During the launch campaign, he provides customer support for final mission preparations, and in particular manages contractual aspects.
Logistics Manager
The Logistics Manager is in charge of coordinating and overseeing the shipment of launcher components to French Guiana for the launch campaign and the air shipment of any spare parts that may be needed.
Launch Complex Operations Manager (COEL)
The Launch Complex Operations Manager (COEL) coordinates operations on the launch complex during the campaign. In particular, throughout the campaign, the COEL coordinates the preparation of the launcher, satellites and ground support equipment. During the final countdown, he is in charge of launch operations for Arianespace.
Arianespace Production Project Manager (CPAP).
The Arianespace Production Project Manager (CPAP) is responsible for technical monitoring of the launcher until it is accepted at the Launcher Integration Building. At the Final Assembly Building, he oversees the rigorous application of general and special launcher operations, up to the Launch Readiness Review. He is in charge of handling technical events along with the operational and industrial teams.
Mission Manager (CM)
The Mission Manager provides general coordination of launch campaign activities. In particular, he works with the satellite teams, Arianespace teams in charge of launcher preparation, and Guiana Space Center teams in charge of launch base preparation.
Fluid Systems Manager
In charge of all activities for the operation of fluid systems. On launchers, this involves the stage systems, and more specifically the filling, draining, pressurizing and conditioning equipment.
Interface and Energy Resources Manager
Responsible for the operation of electrical energy supply and distribution systems on the launcher (pyrotechnics and electrical power) and on ground installations (control stations, telecommunications).
Upper Component Mechanic (MPH)
In charge of all activities for the operation of the launcher's mechanical systems. This includes launcher integration, assembly and operation of upper component parts and the mechanical ground/launcher interface (in particular disconnection systems).
Upper Component Electrician (EPH)
Responsible for all operational activities concerning the electrical systems on ground facilities and equipment.
Digital Systems and Software Manager
Responsible for the operation of information systems. On launchers, this involves the data processing systems and guidance-flight control systems. On the launch complexes, this involves the command-control systems, and automated process control systems.
Payload Assistant (ACU)
In charge of all operational activities for Arianespace customers. These mainly concern operation of the upper component in launchers and ground facilities for satellite preparation.