Flight 119
Photo Gallery:
Ariane 504 launches XMM

Posted: December 10, 1999

Arianespace completed the first commercial launch of an Ariane 5 rocket with the successful deployment of ESA's X-ray Multi-Mirror spacecraft.

Ready to go
The Ariane 5 rocket sits fully fueled and awaiting liftoff from the ELA-3 launch complex in Kourou, French Guiana. The complex is a "clean pad" design with no service gantry because the rocket only spends 24 hours there prior to launch.
Final countdown
Controlling from Jupiter
Senior launch officials monitor the progress of the countdown from the Jupiter control center at the Guiana Space Center. The launch teams that ready the rocket for flight are located elsewhere in the blockhouse.
The Vulcain main engine on the Ariane 5's cryogenic core stage rumbled to life as the countdown ticked to zero.
The twin solid rocket boosters were lit after the Vulcain engine completed a checkout period to ensure it was ready for launch. Ariane 5 was then headed for space.
Leaving Earth
Upon liftoff, Ariane 5 went straight up for several seconds to clear its launch pad structures. ELA-3 has four lightning masts as its only fixtures. Also seen is the umbilical support rising above the rocket's mobile launch platform.
Launching from a jungle
Ariane 5, like its Ariane 4 sister rocket, launch from the Guiana Space Center located in the South American jungles of French Guiana.
Heading in the right direction
In the early seconds of flight, the Ariane 5 rocket completed pitch and roll maneuvers to position itself on the proper trajectory for the mission.
Tracking the rocket
The clear morning sky in Kourou allowed for a spectacular view of Ariane 504 during its Earth-shaking launch.
Video vault
Ariane V119, the fifth Ariane 5 lifts off carrying the European Space Agency's XMM observatory.
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Flight data file
Vehicle: Ariane 504
Payload: X-ray Multi-Mirror satellite
Launch date: Dec. 10, 1999
Launch window: 1432-1508 GMT (0932-1008 EST)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guina

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