The next launch of Ariane 5 is likely to be delayed nearly three months until January 2002 as the recovery plan continues, following the booster's launch failure in July in which two satellites failed to be placed in the correct orbit.

Over 60 test firings of the Aestus upper stage engine of the Ariane 5, which malfunctioned during the last launch, have been completed and Arianespace is aiming for a New Year flight with the European Space Agency's Envisat polar platform as the payload.

Meanwhile, Arianespace successfully launched an Ariane 44P booster on mission V144 from Kourou on 25 September carrying Eutelsat's Alcatel Space-built 26 Ku-band transponder Atlantic Bird 2 communications satellite.

Flight V145 will be launched on 27 November, carrying DirecTV 4S aboard an Ariane 44LP.

Source: Flight International