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Rosetta Successfully Launched - EADS SPACE has a major role in this mission

* EADS Astrium’s probe has began its journey of five billion kilometres
* Philae lander should arrive on comet "Churyumov-Gerasimenko" in 2014
* EPS Ariane upper stage reaches escape speed for the first time

Kourou, 02 March 2004

This morning, at 8:17:44 CET, the European Ariane 5 lifted off successfully from the spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana). The cometary probe Rosetta, built under the leadership of EADS Astrium is now on its long journey to the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

“EADS SPACE has a major role in this cometary exploration programme through its subsidiaries EADS SPACE Transportation and EADS Astrium. All over Europe our teams and our expertise were mobilised to make this event a success.”said François Auque, CEO of EADS SPACE.

The Ariane 5 upper stage was modified and re-qualified by EADS SPACE Transportation in order to be able to properly carry out this demanding mission right from the beginning of the 10-year journey, during which the spacecraft will be covering a total distance of more than five billion kilometres.

EADS Astrium was the industrial prime contractor for this challenging European Space Agency (ESA) project. Under the overall management of EADS Astrium, an international team designed and built the Rosetta spacecraft.

The accurate separation of the probe by Ariane 5 about two and a half hours after launch delighted the space community. For the first time, the EPS upper stage built by EADS SPACE Transportation accelerated a probe to an escape speed of 40,000 kilometres per hour after a 105-minute coasting flight. Only at this speed is it possible to leave the Earth's gravitational pull.

EADS SPACE is a fully owned subsidiary of EADS dedicated to civil and defense space systems. In 2002, EADS SPACE had a turnover of €2.2 billion and 12.300 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. Its activities are organised around three main subsidiaries: EADS SPACE Transportation, for launchers and orbital infrastructure, EADS Astrium for satellites and ground segments and EADS SPACE Services to develop satellite services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2002, EADS generated revenues of € 29.9 billion and employed a workforce of more than 100,000.

For more information, please contact :
+33 (0) 1 34 88 35 78

Alistair SCOTT
+44 (0) 1438 77 3698

Mathias PIKELJ
+49 (0) 7545 8 91 23

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