Press Release PR 60-2003
28 Sep 2003SMART-1 leaves Earth on a long journey to the Moon
SMART-1, Europe's first science spacecraft designed to orbit the Moon, has completed the first part of its journey by achieving its initial Earth orbit after a flawless launch during the night of 27/28 September.
The European Space Agency's SMART-1 was one of three payloads on Ariane Flight 162. The generic Ariane-5 lifted off from the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, at 2014 hrs local time (2314 hrs GMT) on 27 September (01:14 Central European Summer time on 28 September).
42 minutes after launch, all three satellites had been successfully released into a geostationary transfer orbit (742 x 36 016 km, inclined at 7 degrees to the Equator). While the other two satellites are due to manoeuvre towards geostationary orbit, the 367 kg SMART-1 will begin a much longer journey to a target ten times more distant than the geostationary orbit: the Moon.
For the full release visit the ESA Science Media Centre