Arianespace has ordered another 20 Ariane 5s to meet projected customer mission requirements in 2001 and 2002.

The new Ariane 5 order, dubbed P2, covers two batches of 10 launchers. The first to be delivered from this production batch is due for launch in late 2001, with subsequent deliveries following at an average of eight to 10 a year through to early 2004.

The 20 launchers will be Ariane 5 Plus versions, incorporating performance improvements from upgrades to the core cryogenic stage, including a higher-thrust Vulcain 2 cryogenic engine, an increase in propellant capacity and a lighter-weight stage structure.

The Ariane 5 Plus also includes two new upper stages, beginning with the ESC-A cryogenic stage built around the HM7B engine from the Ariane 4, and followed by the EPS-V - a new storable propellant upper stage which can be re-ignited in flight.

Source: Flight International