SMART-1 Arrives at French Spaceport
15 Jul 2003
Ariane-5, flight-162 update Arianespace July 15, 2003
Europe's first Moon mission spacecraft arrives in French Guiana
The spacecraft for Europe's first mission to the Moon arrived in French Guiana today aboard a cargo airliner, marking the start of preparations for a unique scientific and technology demonstrator space flight that will begin in August.
To be launched as one of three payloads on Arianespace's upcoming Flight 162, the SMART-1 spacecraft will use an electronic propulsion system on its trip to the Moon - where its instruments are to look for water in the form of ice on the surface.
The SMART designation refers to the spacecraft's role as the first of the European Space Agency's "Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology," which are to test new technologies for eventual use in larger projects.
The SMART-1 shipping container carries a mission poster with the phrase: "Europe goes to the Moon by solar electric propulsion," referring to the use of a Stationary Plasma Hall-effect thruster as the spacecraft's main propulsion system.