Adapted from The Satellite Encyclopedia.
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 launches
|Ar#||Launch id||Payload||Launch Date||Type||Status/Comment|
|88||n/a||CLUSTER||04 Jun 1996||501||Failure|
|30 Oct 1997||502||Transfert|
|21 Oct 1998||503||Re-entry|
|119||99066||XMM||10 Dec 1999||504||7415x113680x38.8|
|21 Mar 2000||505||Geosynchronous|
|130||00054||Astra B||14 Sep 2000||506||Geosynchronous|
|135||00072|| Panamsat 1R|
|16 Nov 2000||507||Geosynchronous|
|138||00081|| Astra 2D|
GE 8/Aurora 3
|20 Dec 2000||508||Geosynchronous|
Arianespace, Launcher Family