Atmospheric effects surpass solar pressure effects at altitudes lower than 1000 km.  Thus, many LEO launches, including the Space Shuttle, are out of the question for the Solar Blade.    Among the secondary launches to higher orbits, an Ariane microsat slot is favorable for a number of reasons: first, flight slots are available for the 2001-2002 time frame; second, the space on an Ariane is more than adequate; and third, cost and integration issues are kept to a minimum, due to the large volume of launches.

The Solar Blade package appears mounted as an Ariane microsat in the picture below. The spacecraft mounts to the launch vehicle at its base.

Go to www.arianespace.com for detailed information on the Ariane.