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Adapted from The Satellite Encyclopedia.

Ariane 5 launchers


The Ariane 5 program starting was decided by the ESA member states during the conference of the Hague in November 1987, after a study begun in early 1985. Built under the Aerospatiale leadership, Ariane 5 is completely different from the Ariane which preceded in the architecture point of view. Its configuration looks more like that of the American Titan, or even of the Shuttle, or of Japanese H2. Like these launchers, Ariane 5 comprises a liquid propelled main body and two large solid boosters.

The EAP (Etage d'Accélération Poudre = Powder Acceleration Stage) is thus composed of two MPS (Moteurs à Propulsion Solide = Solid Propulsion Motors) or P 230, built by the Europropulsion group formed by SEP (France) and BPD (Italy). Each MPS measures 27 m in length and 3 m in diameter and weighs 267 t with 237 t of propellant in three segments of PBHT (polybutadiene hydroxytelechelic). They develop a 6 MN thrust at takeoff (ISp = 273 sec) and burn during 123 sec before being jettisoned at 56 km of altitude.

The central body comprises a EPC (Etage Principal Cryotechnique = Cryogenic Main Stage) and a EPS (Etage à Propergols Stockables = Storable Propellants Stage). The EPC, which measures 30.5 m in length and 5.4 m in diameter, is propelled by a SEP Vulcain derived flow engine. Its 880 kN thrust at sea level reached 1130 kN in vacuum (ISP = 430 sec). The MPS are fired only after control of the correct operation of the Vulcain engine, this one functions then during 600 seconds, burning 131 t of LOX and 26 t of LH2. The EPS, alias L9, carries 9.7 t of storable propellants (NTO and MMH-H) and ensure precise positioning in orbit. It is equipped with a MBB-ERNO (now DASA) Aestus engine with 28 kN thrust in vacuum, restartable and able to function up to 1150 seconds.

With the vehicle equipment bay and the fairing which exists in two versions, Ariane 5 measures from 45.7 to 55.9 m height and weighs approximately 710 tons. Its payload capacity in geostationary transfer orbit is 6.8 t for a simple payload, 5.9 t for double payloads or 5.5 t for triple payloads.

The first test flight of June 1996 resulted in a failure due to a design error in the guidance software, transposed without control from Ariane 4 to Ariane 5. The second flight was a near success in October 1997 and the third a total success in October 1998. The first commercial flight occurred in December 1999.


Ariane 5
Scale in meters

Ariane 5 launches

Ar#Launch id Payload Launch DateTypeStatus/Comment
88n/a CLUSTER04 Jun 1996501 Failure
10197066 Mockups
µsats
30 Oct 1997502 Transfert
11298059 ARD
Maqsat 3
21 Oct 1998503Re-entry
Transfert
11999066 XMM10 Dec 19995047415x113680x38.8
12800016 Asiastar
Insat 3B
21 Mar 2000505Geosynchronous
13000054 Astra B14 Sep 2000506Geosynchronous
13500072 Panamsat 1R
µsats
16 Nov 2000507Geosynchronous
Transfert
13800081 Astra 2D
GE 8/Aurora 3
20 Dec 2000508Geosynchronous


External Ressources
Arianespace, Launcher Family
Ariane 5


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Please contact Jean-Jacques Serra <JJ.Serra@wanadoo.fr> for comments, corrections or questions