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Ariane 4, a real success story for technology and industry 09-24-2020 |  5 minutes


Six versions for flexibility and reliability: Ariane 4 was the European space industry’s “workhorse”

    01 02
    V75 : 7 juillet 1995
    Helios 1A/Cerise/LBSAT-1

    From its inaugural flight in 1988, Ariane 4 proved itself to be one of the best launchers in its class, both in terms of reliability and performance. Ariane 4 placed over 180 satellites in orbit.

      01 02
      V52 : 10 août 1992
      TOPEX & Poseidon/Oscar 23/S80/T

      This upgraded version of the European rocket was needed to keep pace with the steadily increasing size and weight of satellites and demand for an ever more diverse range of launch services.

        01 02
        V80 : 17 novembre 1995

        To meet these requirements, the performance of the first and second stages was increased for Ariane 4, as was the thrust of the solid-propellant strap-on boosters. New liquid-propellant boosters were also developed.

          01 02
          V56 : 12 mai 1993
          Astra 1C/Arsene

          The modular Ariane 4 came in six configurations designated Ariane 4nX, where n is the number of strap-on boosters (0, 2 or 4) and X is their type (L for liquid and/or P for solid). The names were 40, 42P, 44P, 42L, 44L and 44LP (2 of each).

            01 02
            V159 : 15 février 2003
            Intelsat 907

            Ariane 4’s all-round success included a launch rate of up to 10–12 flights a year. This led to the first real industrial-scale production of Ariane.

              01 02
              V22 : 15 juin 1988
              Meteosat F2/PAS 1/Amsat III

              Ariane 4 had completed an unbroken string of 74 successful flights when it was retired (the final flight was V159 in 2003). In 116 missions, it posted a reliability rate of 97.4%.

              * Photos : © ESA-Arianespace-CNES