Ariane 5 moved to meet Webb

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Enabling & Support


The Ariane 5 launch vehicle which will launch the James Webb Space Telescope was moved to the final assembly building at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 29 November 2021.

Ariane 5 parts shipped from Europe to French Guiana, have been coming together inside the launch vehicle integration building. 

The lower part of the Ariane 5 comprises the cryogenic main core stage (with the Vulcain main engine, oxygen and hydrogen tanks), two solid rocket boosters and the upper composite, including the cryogenic upper stage (with the HM7B engine, oxygen and hydrogen tanks), the vehicle equipment bay – the ‘brain’ of the launcher, and all supporting structures that will interface with Webb on its adaptor. 

A launch table is used to transport the Ariane 5 vehicle between the launch vehicle integration building, the final assembly building and the launch pad. 

Webb, now fuelled, will soon be integrated on Ariane 5’s upper stage and then encapsulated inside Ariane 5’s specially adapted fairing.

Webb will be the largest, most powerful telescope ever launched into space. As part of an international collaboration agreement, ESA is providing the telescope’s launch service using the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Working with partners, ESA was responsible for the development and qualification of Ariane 5 adaptations for the Webb mission and for the procurement of the launch service by Arianespace. 

Webb is an international partnership between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Find out more about Webb in ESA’s launch kit and interactive brochure.

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